Buffy 7×10: Bring on the Night

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon and Douglas Petrie | Director: David Grossman | Aired: 12/17/2002]

“Bring on the Night” takes the setup of the season so far and runs with it in fairly entertaining fashion. What we’ve got here is a very dark plot-heavy episode that doesn’t have a lot of time for the characters. Now, being the ‘character’ guy that I am, I won’t lie in that I would have liked more character material here. With that said, I don’t really have a problem with an episode that focuses on plot every now and then, as long as that plot is interesting and that the characters still act in a way that follows from what has been built before. “Bring on the Night” largely succeeds in that area, although it definitely has its missteps as well.

Speaking of missteps, the Potentials have arrived! Oh my! What a shitstorm this group of girls has caused in the fandom. I’ll get my overall opinion of them out there right now: some of them I like, some of them I dislike, and some of them I could care less about. As a group, I can appreciate where the writers were going with the story, but I concede that they were not sufficiently developed enough to make me care about them, yet they were given enough attention to suck up valuable screen time for the characters we really care about. I definitely don’t rabidly hate them like others seem to, but I do think they proved to be a negative at various points of the last half of the season. With all that said, the few that show up here aren’t a problem at all.

While I’m on the subject of the Potentials, I’ll say that while I’m not wild about Kennedy as Willow’s girlfriend, I do like Kennedy as a Potential and a character. Here in “Bring on the Night,” I find her cynicism and pragmatism refreshing. I particularly appreciate it when she responds to Giles’ plan to save the world by saying, “That’s it? That’s the plan? I don’t see how one person, even a slayer, could protect us. I saw what those bringer guys can do. They tore apart my watcher!”

As a side note, I’d like to comment on all the hate I’ve seen directed at many of the Potenials’ various accents. Let me just say that I’m no expert on what certain accents are supposed to sound like. I’ve heard some pretty strange accents in my life so far, and I don’t feel like judging these actresses on how good or bad their accents are, as a general rule. So you’re not going to get much hate from me on their accents (except with Eve in “Showtime” [7×11] : my God that’s an aggravating accent ;)).

One thing I found a little irritating is how Buffy repeatedly overstates how the First made her feel back in “Amends” [3×10] for the sake of drama now. Back in “Amends” [3×10], Buffy pretty much shrugged the First off with a quip and didn’t take it very seriously aside from being concerned for an unstable Angel. I would have preferred a reference to her cavalier attitude towards it before instead of the writers forcing her to grossly exaggerate the truth. To the episode’s credit, it doesn’t just have Buffy tell us about how bad the First is, it continues to show us. When Willow’s spell backfires and the First takes control of her, it directly ties into the First’s warning about using magic in “Conversations with Dead People” [7×07] — it’s playing on her fear — and manages to really creep me out in the process. This effectively shuts Willow down, magic-wise, for a little while. Awesome scene.

Another fun scene is the funny but awkward moment when Buffy, holding a shovel, bumps into Principal Wood in the basement… with a shovel. Their various excuses are amusing, and the ambiguity that’s going on is commendable. What I truly love is what both of their perceptions must be here. Buffy must be very suspicious of Wood, and Wood’s got to be a little suspicious of Buffy. As for why Wood would have been in the basement, I think it’s obvious that Wood knows that evil is brewing around him, which is why he’s checking out all aspects of the school. He’s not blind to what’s going on. As for burying Jonathan’s body, well, that’s just seeing a dead boy on the floor and giving him a proper burial. What, is he going to see that and just leave the body in the basement of the school? I think there’s a good reason for why Wood is doing what he’s doing, and the ambiguity fits the story well.

I also really enjoyed Wood’s conversation with Buffy about true evil, as it really sets up his arc this season with Spike and his dead mother: “I’m only saying that once you see true evil, it can have some serious after burn, and then you can’t unsee what you saw. Ever.” I also enjoyed Wood saying his favorite type of movies are mysteries, as he walks away grinning and Buffy’s left with this look on her face like, “uhhhh…”

One problem that pops up in a couple places is the frequent flashbacks to recent episodes, as if assuming we weren’t even watching. Buffy usually assumes more from its audience. Furthermore, the flashback where Giles is helping the other Watcher and gets an axe swung at his head is particularly annoying, because it doesn’t get a resolution here. This annoyance is, admittedly, mostly a result of knowing that Giles is not the First. The first time I saw this I was getting nervous and excited about the potential of Giles as the First. But knowing that he’s not, I find the game the writers play with him here and in the next couple episodes tedious at best. In an effort to make him ambiguous enough to possibly be the First, we lose a lot of Giles’ personality and wisdom in the process.

For example, why is Giles being so doomsday with his speeches? Giles isn’t one to stew in defeat, he’s one to research and come up with ideas and help in any way he can. I find it hard to believe there’s just nothing useful he has to add here. I understand forcing Buffy into a full-on command role, but that should still be with the assistence of the people who got her this far.

The highlight of the episode for me is probably the two fight scenes between Buffy and the Ubervamp. Both sequences have fantastic choreography. The Ubervamp is well represented as an incredibly vicious fighter and its raw fighting skill and literal tough skin is something to behold. The only problem I had with the underground fight is the convenience of the sun abruptly popping up out of nowhere at the exact moment Buffy needed it to. I would have preferred Buffy to have actually earned her way out of that situation.

The second fight picks up where the last one left off with the Ubervamp just beating the crap out of Buffy. It’s painful to see her being wailed on that hard, and more than a little scary. The fact of the matter is that she is extremely tired and worn out before she even begins fighting the Ubervamp for the first time. Buffy’s got no chance like this, which is why Dream Joyce (the First?) wasn’t wrong: she needs to sleep! My question is why did the Ubervamp just leave her there? Why didn’t it finish her off? I guess an argument could be made that the First wants her alive to go back and demoralize and disorganize the troops. It certainly wants her alive for something, as we will find out in “Showtime” [7×11].

I’m a fan of how completely terrified Buffy looks back in her home, after the big fight, when she’s alone. Her eyes speak a thousand words. Even better, though, is how she takes that fear and twists it into strong motivation. Although many things can be said about Buffy’s speeches throughout the season, I genuinely love the one at the very end of this episode. It turns her fright and near-defeat into marching orders and is simply thrilling to see. I know the First wasn’t expected that reaction out of her. Some may rub it off as overly melodramatic, but I thought it hit the spot and was very well acted by Gellar.

To sum everything up, I’ll just add that I found “Bring on the Night” to be a very entertaining and solid plot-heavy episode. It does an admirable job of setting everything into motion and letting it play out on screen. In light of that, though, we didn’t really get much character insight and/or development. Additionally, I can begin to see the writers making a few too many poor decisions. Sadly, a few of the problems introduced in this episode will only flourish over the next block of episodes, but this one still holds itself together.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Poor Xander having to continuously repair the Summers home. No surprise he just boards up the windows this time.
+ Dawn wanting to slap Andrew. “Anya gets to hit him.”
+ The First’s psychological attacks having an effect on Buffy. She’s now dreaming what may or may not be the First. Buffy clearly does need to sleep though.
+ Spike telling the First as Drusilla that the real Drusilla is crazier than her. Haha.
+ Andrew continuing to be funny.
+ Andrew pointing out that “The First” doesn’t sound very ominous. Nope, it really doesn’t.
+ Kennedy quickly hitting on Willow. I love Willow’s surprised reaction.
+ Andrew actually beginning to look pained about what he did to Jonathan.
+ Xander and Andrew briefly bonding over Wonder Woman.
+ The little conversation between Buffy and Giles outside. Just nice to hear that they still care about and miss each other.
+ Spike telling the First to “get bent.”
+ Joyce giving a very Angelish Holland Manners-like speech about the nature of evil being inside all of us.
+ Spike not budging one bit for the First. Buffy’s faith in him is his strength.

– I wish that Buffy had told the Potentials the whole story about her fight with the Ubervamp. Something like, “I did stake it right in the heart, but it didn’t dust. It’s still not happy about sunlight though.” More communication is needed.


[Score]

80/100

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74 thoughts on “Buffy 7×10: Bring on the Night”

  1. [Note: Paula posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Just wanted to say I’m loving all these new reviews, so thanks, Mike. Will do some actual commenting later. 🙂

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  2. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Very good analysis, mike. You really nailed down the pros and cons of the episodes, and I agree with your score.
    I just want to add one thing that I don’t like here and other episodes and that’s how everyone is just expecting Buffy to do everything right, have all the answers when clearly she is bound to make mistakes. and when she does them, everyone just points their fingers at her.
    That’s all I wanted to say.

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  3. [Note: wilpy1 posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Good review, Mike. You said all that needed to be said, and your score is a bullseye.

    Having rewatched this episode recently, I can see what people mean with the potential hate. Although I hated the two “English” ones in this episode for their actually offensive take on English accents, I guess hate is too strong a word in general to describe my feelings for the Potentials. But from the get-go, they are very imposing. The first image of them is of them marching into Buffy’s house, cutting off a nice reunion hug between characters we care about, and claiming that the house is a “bit of a mess”. How were we ever supposed to like them, let alone care about them, when we were given an introduction like that?

    I’m one of those who feels the final speech of this episode was very overdramatic. I would’ve enjoyed if a *little* humour had been injected into it, perhaps an offhand comment by Xander. I feel BOTN is really where the show loses its self-awareness. Of course there’s cutaway comedy in the following episodes, but it never interrupts serious scenes, which is what the show used to be so good at. It’s understandable that the writers wanted to create a real sense of doom for the final season, but it started to take itself too seriously, in my opinion, from this episode on out.

    Regarding the fighting, I have to say I’m not a fan of the choreography in the later seasons. I enjoyed it when it was more kung-fu and fast-paced. I find the Buffy/Ubervampire fights a bit sluggish and too organised.

    Enough bitching. I actually enjoy this episode.

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  4. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Glad to see my comments from last episode weren’t ignored Mike. Although this does bring up the question why the basement isn’t guarded, since it is the place where the First plans to create it’s armies. Even a bringer or two could serve as security.

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  5. [Note: Tara and Willow posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Another great review! Well done Mike! You spotted all the good and bad parts of the episode. I like Kennedy too as a *Potentional* Slayer! And Buffy’s dreams with Joyce were great. Kristine Sutherland’s last appearance!

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  6. [Note: MissKittyFantastico posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Thanks, Mike!

    Like wilpy, I actually DO have a huge problem with the English accents, as I’ve mentioned before, because they’re abysmal. BtVS was a popular, well-known show by this point and Whedon/the casting director/whoever could have taken a little extra time and found someone who actually had the right accent without spending too much money. The periodic arrival of crappy accents is one of my only serious irritations about the show overall. But whatever. I’ll let it slide (and I won’t go into a Kennedy rant now either).

    I always found the Giles-as-the-First thing rather silly. I just never believed that the writers would actually kill Giles off, and every scene dealing with that just felt like a waste of time (though a couple funny lines come out of it). I was one of those people who knew half of BtVS’s spoilers before I watched the entire show, though, so maybe I just wasn’t looking for any surprises I hadn’t been told about already. =)

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  7. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    What makes the invasion of awful English accents on BTVS even more confusing and frustrating is that Joss is a self professed anglophile. Was he not present at all at casting auditions?!

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  8. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on April 15, 2009.]

    Happy! the reviews keep coming so fast! thanks!!

    and i was particularly waiting for this one, Bring on the night being one of my personnal little deceptions of season 7 (that i love by the way). My problem was i couldn’t exactly point out what i disliked. The lack of character work seems to be blamed, I did’nt really think of it.

    For the potential, i love them! Little mini slayers, that’s funny, and refreshing, and make me nostalgic of the training Buffy of seasons one and two.

    What leaves its mark on me in this episode was definitly the way Buffy looked in the end, like a battered woman, that was painful to see ( and to see how smaller she semmed) but our Buffy is our Buffy, and I genuinely loved her speech too.

    And I agree with the fake twist for Giles, silly.

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  9. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on April 22, 2009.]

    I, also, do not hate Kennedy as a Potential. However, I hate how she hones in on Willow. How the hell does she even know she’s gay? They knew each other for all of two seconds. Now, it could be she just hits on girls regardless whether she knows they swing that way or not, but it’s awfully convenient she decided to hit on the one that does.

    Which brings me to the fact that I still think Willow should have been made bi or something. You don’t just go from totally being straight to gay. But whatever, I’ve already expressed my feelings on all this before. 8P I just really can’t stand them as a couple. And it’s not as though I’m a huge Willow-Tara fan, but at least they were kind of cute together, and not just reeeaaalllly annoying.

    As for horrid English accents…couldn’t they have gotten Anthony Head to coach them or something? Honestly, though, I never thought they were that terrible. haha I mean, I’ve heard worse. Eve was the Southerner, right? I’m thinking she was meant to have a Georgian accent. It was a kind of genteel Southern drawl. Which they don’t really have here in Mississippi–our accents are baaaaaaad here. 8S haha Really, they don’t have that accent much of anywhere in the South, anymore, I don’t think. But that’s the one that everyone tries to use when they play a Southerner.

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  10. [Note: GrahamOz posted this comment on June 4, 2009.]

    Giles’ characterisation just felt ‘off’ here, particularly his speeches. As you pointed out, the doom-and-gloom talk seemed a bit forced and out of character – especially the dumping everything on Buffy part.

    Perhaps Tony Head was just really annoyed at the accents as well.

    When Johnathon/Andrew first showed up in S7 I thought ‘oh god’, but Andrew is suprisingly effective at comic relief. (Or is it just that I get most of the references?)

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  11. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 19, 2009.]

    Well I’ll start off by stating for the record that I am the anti-Kennedy. Not only do I totally detest her as a romantic partner for Willow, I find her to be abrasive, inconsiderate, a power junkie and a waste of time as a character. Time that could have been better spent on furthering the story/season arc.

    As for Giles and the ‘doom and gloom’ Hey, the Watcher’s Council was blown sky-high! Who knows how many friends he lost when that happened? Just because he didn’t like Travers doesn’t mean he disliked everyone there. Maybe he was a little sad and depressed at the loss of his friends?

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  12. [Note: O_Hai posted this comment on July 21, 2009.]

    You know, it seems like anytime a character gives some kind of a motivational speech, it comes across as cliche and corny. But not here. The way Sarah delivers this speech is really beautiful. Seeing her stand there, her face bruised and scarred, terrified…I’m actually stunned she never got an Emmy nomination, because this was some of her best acting in the series.

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  13. [Note: Miscellaneopolan posted this comment on November 19, 2009.]

    I like this episode, but I agree that it’s where the season’s plot started to wander, and I think much of the reason for that can be attributed to the First moving front and center. The First was creepy and effective when it was in the shadows, haunting our characters and operating behind the scenes, but after it steps up its attack it seems strangely… neutered. If you’re a ancient, all-powerful evil that can’t even pull off a convincing southern accent, something’s wrong.

    This also marks the beginning of several plot threads that just didn’t go anywhere. The Giles-might-be-the-First plot is the most obvious example, but there are others. For example, what’s the deal with those scenes featuring Joyce in this episode? Is it the First? A ghost? A dream? Whatever it was, it was eerie and convincing and I wish more had been done with it. Then there’s the way Spike’s trigger is just up and forgotten for several episodes, the thing with the Beljorxa’s Eye, etc…

    I like Season 7, but it feels disorganized, especially in this middle portion. I once heard that, although Marni Noxon was still technically show-runner at this point, the show-running responsibilities for this season were passed from writer at several points throughout the season until Joss came back to preside over the final handful of episodes. It’s unsubstantiated, but I can believe it. It would explain the lack of form the Season sometimes displays.

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  14. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 3, 2010.]

    I agree with your score. I found the ending speech to be one of the best in the series and it really had me, especially with Buffy being all beaten and bruised.

    I loved seeing Drusilla again and Spike telling her she is not as crazy as the real Dru, although her mumblings were close.

    When Buffy escaped from the ground with the Turok-Han being driven back down by the sunlight it reminded me of ‘The Harvest’ when a similar thing happened.

    Kennedy…is a potential that I really dislike, however, I can see she would make a good slayer with her strong attitude. Also I don’t really like any of the potentials anyway, especially Eve. Just thinking, so for the last couple of days she never touched or ate anything and nobody noticed?

    Buffy getting her arse kicked in a ‘Terminator’ style chase scene. Nice.

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  15. [Note: Andrew posted this comment on February 16, 2010.]

    Mmmm.

    To be honest, I think Season 7 lost it from Sleeper onwards. Conversations with Dead People was essentially the start of the arc plot, but it was good because of Holden, who had nothing to do with the main plot.

    English Accents. Annabelle’s is dreadful; Molly’s is just about passable, though it sounds slightly odd. Lucky they picked the right one to kill off.

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  16. [Note: Aisha posted this comment on June 7, 2010.]

    I feel the reason that people dislike Season 7 is because of the addition of new characters. Not only were they incredibly sudden additions, they were also additions of characters that no one really identified with or liked. When Tara, Spike, Anya and Oz wee introduced, they were developed pretty well and were given strong places within the overall plot of the show. While the idea of all the Potentials being given the power to fight is essential to the culmination of Season 7, they were generally annoying and sometimes were more trouble than helpful (Annabelle).

    I didn’t really think Giles characterization was off. I think that as Buffy has gotten older, Giles tailors his mentoring to how much she can handle. I think the problem is that he overestimates how much she can handle at the time. By the end of the episode, she gains that Slayer strength back.

    I agree with Mikejer about the overstatement of fear she felt from the First.

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  17. [Note: Andrea posted this comment on July 29, 2010.]

    I suppose I like the ultimate *idea* of this season: that in the end, Buffy ceases to be alone, and all girls who could have the power, will have the power, etc. I don’t, unfortunately, like the Potentials. As Mike mentions they take up valuable screen time of our FINAL season when we really want to be seeing Core Four plus (for me), lots of old favourites. It just feels like a clumsy intrusion of characters who are just not likable. They totally lack the pre-development that we’re used to in new or minor Buffy characters: Spike and Drusilla, Oz, Faith, the Mayor, (even Trick), Harmony, Anya, Wesley, Sunday, D’Hoffryn, Tara, Clem… All these new characters had something special and charismatic and that was a major part of Buffy, for me. (And some of them obviously stuck around.)

    I totally agree too that they were introduced horribly and were basically doomed to be hated by the fandom. As mentioned above:

    – they come storming into their very first scene and mess up the Scooby hug

    – they are immediately critical of Buffy’s home

    – the one asks “did you slay it?” and then since Buffy didn’t that makes us feel all bad and uncomfortable on her account

    – they don’t believe in Buffy to beat the uber-vamp

    – a lot of them love to whine (…Rhona.)

    Yech.

    PS – Thank goodness for Andrew with all the huge funny in this season!

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  18. [Note: DeadLego posted this comment on August 15, 2010.]

    ok, just a comment on english accents…i’m english and i found the english accents very insulting! Especially when the other english characters from the show for example spike, dru and giles have brilliant english accents (i include giles because although tony head is english that is not his natural accent), which shows up the problem even more. Did they just not care any more or go deaf briefly perhaps. Molly’s accent is the worst, i have heard accents kind of sort of like anabel’s (only when i was at catholic all girls school in the south of england many years ago), but no one anywhere speaks like molly and it’s trying and fails to be a victorian english accent which is ridiculous considering how young the girl is! It’s like they thought it didn’t matter as they’d be dead soon and never got any character development anyway so they’d give them terrible ott wrong accents so we could tell them apart at least. There are many english actresses in the US that i’m sure would have jumped at the change to be in buffy. END OF RANT.

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  19. [Note: Selene posted this comment on September 12, 2010.]

    Trust me DeadLego, the Southern accents are just as bad. I’m a Southerner and have lived in many of the Southern states (North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi)and I’ve never heard accents like those of Eve and Caleb. Which brings me to the question: What does Joss have against the South, anyway? Two manifestations of the First and both have Southern accents. What did we ever do to him?

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  20. [Note: John posted this comment on January 10, 2011.]

    This was an, ah, interesting episode. I really loathe the Potentials as a whole and feel the season starts to go downhill a bit after their entrance, so this episode is a bit of a disappointment for me. However, the humor in this is great; Wood and Buffy in the basement is excellent, and Xander and Andrew talking about comics was great. I also thought that was nice as a way to reconcile Xander’s comments towards Andrew at the end of S6; we see that Xander is indeed still the same nerdy guy he’s always been, it was just the stress of the moment that caused him to insult Andrew for being an even bigger nerd than Xander is.

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  21. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 16, 2011.]

    Oh god, they’re here. Ugh, Kennedy (the worst of the lot). She and they really brought down this season for me.

    One thing that strikes me in this spisode is that it seems to be the first time that Buffy and Giles are equals. Even though Buffy often called the shots in the past, she has always really needed Giles. When he first left, it was like a mother pushing her little baby bird out of the nest. He was trying to get her to do things on her own. When he came back later in S6, Buffy needed Giles because of Willow and she was just getting herself together after her rough season. This time, it feels like Giles is just there for additional support but it is all the Buffy show. She greets him like an old friend. It was great work by the writers to develop their relationship like this throughout the series.

    This episode has the first of a few great speeches in S7 (Buffy’s speech at the end). Some people might think the speeches are cheezy but I’m a sucker for cheese so I love ’em!

    I also love the scene where Buffy and Principal Wood bump into each other in the basement. I did appreciate the writers casting of suspicion on Principal Wood. It was well done. I have to comment on a couple of things though. MikeJer wrote “Wood’s got to be a little suspicious of Buffy.” Doesn’t he reveal later that he already knows who Buffy is? I think that he is just trying to see if he can get anything out of her. And as for Wood being in the basement, I am not sure why he went there in last episode but since he found Jonathan’s body on the seal, I always assumed that in this episode he went down there with a shovel to cover the seal realizing that it was something evil. Of course, what he would find when he gets there is that it is already buried (by Buffy).

    I’ll throw in one more line here about my love for Andrew because I love him. 😛

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  22. [Note: Beth24 posted this comment on February 17, 2011.]

    I’m just re-watching all of my Buffys, for the millionth time, and wanted to talk about a problem that I’ve always had with this episode and with the Potentials in general which I don’t think has been mentioned yet.

    Ok.. so in this episode we are introduced to the Potentials and given a (far too brief) exposition scene where not a lot makes sense to me. First of all we’re told that they’re Potential Slayers, waiting to be called. Correct me if I’m wrong, but before Buffy found out she was the Slayer she had no idea what a Slayer was, let alone that she was a Potential Slayer. These guys know. She also had no watcher until she became the Slayer. These guys apparently already have / had watchers. I just hate the fact that Giles refers to them as ‘Slayers in Training’. When was Buffy ever a Slayer in training!!! She started to train only when she found out that she was now the Slayer. That used to be one of the premises of the show – Buffy was someone who was catapaulted into this world without ever having asked for it or been prepared for it, and noone else had any clue about it. (This is a problem I had with Kendra initially as well, who said that her parents sent her to her watcher when she was very young. How the frig did they know her potential or if she would even be called upon as a slayer! Buffy’s parents had no idea!)

    Also, Buffy says ‘With all the potentials gone and no way of making another…’ Who is it that ‘makes’ slayers then? It seems to me that here it’s implied that it’s their watchers. I just find the whole thing very sloppy.

    And finally, Giles says that all the slayers are on their way to Sunnydale… well this certainly contradicts what happens in Chosen when all these random girls at the end turn into Slayers, with obviously no idea who they are!!!

    Ok… rant over, but if someone could shed some light on any of this I’d appreciate it.

    I actually really enjoyed this Season for it’s entertainment value, but I just wish the writing hadn’t been so sloppy, as this has always been one of Buffy’s strengths and by the end of it I didn’t trust that the writers even knew what they were doing.

    Oh and by the way, I’m in total agreement with the accent thing. The accents are all cringe-worthy, but Molly’s accent is possibly the worst thing I’ve ever heard!

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  23. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on February 17, 2011.]

    Beth24, I believe it’s implied that the Watcher’s Council has long had ways of detecting potential slayers, and that they reach out to and train those slayers in anticipation of them eventually being called — not by the Council, but by Fate. This is probably part of the justification for how large the Council is — they aren’t just managing one slayer, but also any number of potentials.

    However, the Council clearly is incapable of detecting *all* potentials: they detected Kendra ahead of time but not Buffy, and it’s not clear whether they detected Faith. The Council also didn’t originally detect all of the potentials that wind up at the Summers’ house: Rona says she’d never heard anything about this slayer business until just before she came to Sunnydale, and Amanda also was never detected until the Coven told Willow that there was another potential in Sunnydale.

    Anyway, the rationale in S7 is that if there are no more potential slayers, then Fate will not be able to call them. However, we see in the “Chosen” montage that there’s lots of undetected potentials still out there; the First was nowhere near bringing down the Slayer line. Clearly the magic that the Council uses to detect potentials isn’t very good!

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  24. [Note: Beth24 posted this comment on February 19, 2011.]

    Thanks a lot, that does make a lot of sense.

    I still don’t really get why they couldn’t make any more Potentials even if they wiped out all the existing ones. They Slayer Line isn’t anything to do with blood is it? So presumably more would spring up. Although i suppose with the Watchers Council gone there would be nobody to train them and tell them about their Destiny.

    Anyway, it’s a minor problem. Still the best show on the history of the planet. Ever. Just finished my entire DVD box set and feel a bit lost now! What does one do in real life!

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  25. [Note: Conor posted this comment on March 25, 2011.]

    One thing I found a little irritating is how Buffy repeatedly overstates how the First made her feel back in “Amends” [3×10] for the sake of drama now. Back in “Amends” [3×10], Buffy pretty much shrugged the First off with a quip and didn’t take it very seriously aside from being concerned for an unstable Angel. I would have preferred a reference to her cavalier attitude towards it before instead of the writers forcing her to grossly exaggerate the truth.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    That’s one the greatest problems with this season. The threat posed by The First is incredibly overstated for dramatic effect EVERY SINGLE TIME the subject arises. The uber-vamps are trouble though and all I can say is I LOVE THEM. One of very few fantastic new creations introduced by this season.

    Personally, I found Buffy’s ridiculously overblown speech at the end of the episode painful to hear. She can be a pretty annoying character in this season, given to making long, drawn-out, over-dramatic speeches and a little to harsh and authoritarian in her approach towards training the Potentials. Definitely less likeable than she once was.

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  26. [Note: joaquin posted this comment on August 14, 2011.]

    this episode works out as normal again in season 6 and the wheight of the world in season 5

    is the chapter where she has to choose in between life and her dreams

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  27. [Note: carambolage posted this comment on September 7, 2011.]

    I watched this episode today and I can totally see all the flaws mentioned above. The potentials are getting thrown in out of nowhere without any real explanation, stealing screentime from all the others. Actually, I’m German, so although I watch the series in english I didn’t notice the fake accents. 😉 Evil/not evil Guiles was unbelievable and out of character.

    All the obvious flaws aside, the worst part for me was Buffy’s speech. I really like the series for all the metaphors thrown in and all the stuff you can interpret in what’s going on and how it reflects (forms and parts of) society. Buffy’s always been multi-layered, self-aware and quite “meta” and I love the show for these aspects. Hearing Buffy’s speech at the end, I really cringed. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but in my opinion, she sounded like some crazy pro-war conservative uber-patriot politician justifying a preventive attack on some foreign country that might somehow be connected to terrorist activities. This is not what BtVS usually does. In a series that delivers criticism on capitalism, militarism, politic force and oppression in general, it felt totally off. I’m having trouble exactly phrasing my point, but I hope someone will give it a thought.

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  28. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 18, 2011.]

    Beth24: I love your post. The whole potentials story is not clear or coherent. Thank you for writing it down.

    I’m watching BtVS for the second time and I only knew I hated S7. My mind changed a bit during the first 8 episodes, but this one just upsets me. It’s like everything Conversations with Dead People promissed was blown away. I hate the Potentials by all reasons listed. I hate the fact Willow was in a relationship with Kennedy – I mean, I hate the idea she would go for a new relationship so fast… I hate the fact that this incredibly strong Ubervamp has nothing to do with the “soft” versions of the last episode. I hate the fact no one bottered to explain where Anya is sleeping (assuming she’s sleeping there) but we see them installing the Potentials. I hate the fact they would make fun of Dawn torturing Andrew (I feel that is completely unacceptable). I hate the fact that Giles is so cold and artificial just to make us think he can the First. And I hate his statement that he thought Ubervamps were a legend (so how does he recognize him just by looking at him?).

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  29. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 18, 2011.]

    Gon, you’re transposing a lot of stuff from later in the season onto your rather abrupt and hostile ‘evaluation’ of this episode.

    1. None of the atmosphere from CWDP was “blown away” in this episode. It’s actually rather high still. Things taper off, plot-wise, after “Showtime.”

    2. Willow is not in a relationship with Kennedy in this episode. Kennedy arrives, makes a quick pass at Willow, Willow looks uncomfortable, and that’s about it. They don’t begin any kind of relationship until “The Killer in Me” — that being nearly a year after Tara’s death. This relationship doesn’t end up being treated all that seriously anyway, as it’s clearly Willow on the rebound.

    3. The “soft” ubervamps were a problem isolated entirely to “Chosen.” Blame that episode for this problem, not “Bring on the Night.”

    4. Who cares where Anya is sleeping? The Potentials are introduced to the show at this point, so of course the episode is going to focus on them a bit.

    5. You feel it’s “completely unacceptable” for a girl of Dawn’s size and strength to slap Andrew — a murderer — once? You really consider *that* to be torture? Saying that would probably be an insult to people who actually have been tortured (or for a Buffyverse example, Wesley, in Angel‘s “Five by Five”).

    6. Something can be a legend and also drawn and/or described. There’s no problem here. The more important question, though, is why something as irrelevant as this draws such strong ire from you?

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  30. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 18, 2011.]

    “Gon, you’re transposing a lot of stuff from later in the season onto your rather abrupt and hostile ‘evaluation’ of this episode.”

    Hello MikeJer. I think this statement is right this mostly for your points 2 and 3, but the problem remains for the lack of sense regarding the ubervamps and I still think it makes no sense for Willow to be in a relationship so soon (an year? how is that possible? since end of S6 a summer has passed and then 8 episodes, 3 of wich being followed).

    Point 1: this is subjective, I think…

    Point 4: I care! Because this pretty much reflects the fact the Potentials take a lot of time from the regulars, as everyone has pointed out!

    Point 6: : Giles could have known draws of the Ubbervamps but I think it doesn’t make much sense to describe them so accurately (after just seeing one of them for a seconde!) and then say he thought they were just a legend.

    Point 5 (and for me the most important): I think it’s the first time I see “good” characters having fun torturing humans in BtVS so I do think this is very serious. This comes after an episode where Anya is seen having a lot of fun beating him up. Anya and Dawn not only slap him but for fun but consider trowing hot water on him. Then they pretend they were doing nothing when Buffy appears. To me this feel like a blink to the spectator, like they are searching for complicity for this behaviour. For me, this is completelt unacceptable indeed.

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  31. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 18, 2011.]

    Gon:

    On #1: Yes, this is subjective, to an extent. However, the overall plot objectively fades away after “Showtime” when it is explicitly stated that the First is “in remission.”

    On #4: I can’t help you if you need to know where Anya’s sleeping at night (do you need to know when she uses the bathroom too?), but as for your larger problem with the Potentials taking over screen time for the regulars — that is something that the season struggles with at times. With that said, only a handful of Potentials are introduced in “Bring on the Night” — it’s just not a big problem here in an episode that’s centered around the plot.

    On #6: Giles is an expert on demons and has always been able to recall this demon or that without having needed to have seen one before. Sometimes he has to pull out a book to confirm his suspicions; sometimes he can go off his memory. You’re looking for a problem here where one doesn’t exist.

    On #5: Anya did absolutely no damage to Andrew in the previous episode, an out of control Spike did. Anya and Dawn both don’t have any powers at this point — they’re not super strong. This is not torture. And since when is joking about doing something the same as doing it? The characters on Buffy have joked about doing all kinds of bad things over the years. I can’t help but feel you’re having a case of selective memory. And unless that joke water is hot enough to actually burn Andrew, it still wouldn’t be a big deal. The guy recently murdered someone and probably deserves far worse than being slapped by a couple small girls and having some hot water splashed on his face (the latter of which was only joked about).

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  32. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 19, 2011.]

    MikeJer

    On #5 (because this is what really matters):

    See, I think what you are defending here is very serious: “And unless that joke water is hot enough to actually burn Andrew, it still wouldn’t be a big deal. The guy recently murdered someone and probably deserves far worse than being slapped by a couple small girls and having some hot water splashed on his face (the latter of which was only joked about)” .

    If Andrew is a human murderer he must deal with human justice. Buffy was always very clear about that – being a slayer doesn’t allow here to punish humans for their acts. The Dark Willow arc was all about that!

    So yes, seeing two girls “who are not super-strong” beating an armless and tied up Andrew for fun is a “big deal” to me. It’s precisely the fact they’re humans that makes their actions relevant (of course Spike hurting Andrew influenced by the First is a totally different matter). What the show is presenting to me is 2 human beings talking about abusing another defenseless human being for humour purposes.

    Of course there has always been jokes about pain and death in BtVS. And there has been evil beings torturing human beings but that is very different from watching this situation in such a light funny way. Obviously the fact that Anya and Dawn are hiding the intention of hurting Andrew from Buffy is an attempt of humour. I do feel very bad when the show tries to get funny with that kind of situation. It feels like the writers are asking for my complicity here and that, for me, IS a big deal.

    Banalisation of torture is a really serious issue, and very regrettably this is something several american shows tend to do (I stopped watching 24 for it).

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  33. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 19, 2011.]

    First of all, the debate Buffy was having about what to do with Warren was whether they should kill Warren to pay for his crimes. This is in no way a similar situation to that one, unless you consider killing someone in the same moral territory as slapping them. Once (per Anya and Dawn). If you do, then there’s really nothing more to say.

    It’s as simple as this: no definition of torture I’ve ever known consists of slaps and jokes. You’re welcome to your own personal definition, but it’s certainly not a commonly regarded one, nor one that I share.

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  34. [Note: Joe posted this comment on November 19, 2011.]

    I have to side with MikeJer here on the torture thing. Dawn and Anya clearly aren’t actually inflicting any real, serious damage on Andrew whatsoever. “Torture” brings up much harsher things–as MikeJer mentions, Wesley’s torture at Faith’s hands or, say, Giles’ torture at Angelus’ hands in “Becoming” are clearly different than what Dawn and Anya have done here.

    And of course Andrew deserves real, human justice–but what exactly are Buffy and company supposed to do? Take him to the police, show the police Jonathan’s body, and explain the bizarre seal thingy that Jonathan bled out onto? While Buffy and her friends certainly attempt to let real world justice take precedence when it comes to human affairs, this seems like a situation in which that isn’t feasible.

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  35. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 20, 2011.]

    Actually, during the show, Buffy had several speeches about what a slayer is intended to do with her power. This power doesn’t allow her to make the law among humans. This is a fundamental premise for Buffy’s actions.

    We all feel is wrong for Dawn having fun by slapping a tied person. If it wasn’t supposed to be in any way wrong, Dawn and Anya wouldn’t have judged necessary to hide it from Buffy – and this scene wouldn’t make sense.

    While I agree a slap is not torture, I do strongly feel this episode flirts with the idea of torture. A kid is having fun by using her power to harm a tied up person and is been allowed to do that by a grown-up; they both hide it from her parental figure. We, viewers, are supposed to get a laugh by this scene.

    I guess we clearly disagree on this and to continue arguing won’t change that.

    But I must insist on one thing. You wrote: “The guy recently murdered someone and probably deserves far worse than being slapped by a couple small girls and having some hot water splashed on his face”. In Buffyverse, this would mean people have the right to decide by themselves how to punish criminals and what they “deserve” – and would be contrary to Buffy’s premises. In the real world, I must say I think this is a very wrong and dangerous idea.

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  36. [Note: Joe posted this comment on November 20, 2011.]

    Well, you’re assuming that MikeJer is implying that Buffy and her friends get to dole out what Andrew deserves–and he doesn’t say that, specifically. He’s saying that Andrew deserves far worse, not that Dawn, Anya, etcetera think they should be the ones doling that deserved punishment out.

    I will grant you that yes, it is odd that Anya and Dawn feel the need to hide their actions from Buffy–perhaps there is a sense of guilt in that. However, I don’t think we get any evidence that Anya and Dawn actually think they are doing any real “harm” to Andrew–does Dawn really think she’s causing him lasting, harmful pain? Isn’t that part of what torture is? By nature, torture aims to cause someone harm in order to get them to do something, causing enough pain that withholding what they know and being forced to endure that pain is unfathomable. While Dawn’s slaps probably sting, the pain they’re causing is hardly torture-level pain.

    I appreciate not wanting to be dismissive of harm imposed upon others, but I still think that saying that this episode even flirts with torture is taking things further than they imply or really warrant. However, you are obviously welcome to your opinion/reading of things.

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  37. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 21, 2011.]

    Am I missing something? I thought that all Anya and Dawn were trying to do was wake Andrew up – isn’t he unconscious in that scene? I always thought that yes, they were going about it in a pretty thuggish way, but I didn’t actually think that ‘torture’ was their intent at all.

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  38. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 21, 2011.]

    And I always thought that they were hiding their actions from Buffy because she had earlier told them to stop messing with Andrew and just leave him to ‘come to’ on his own. Perhaps that just makes me naive.

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  39. [Note: keekey posted this comment on November 26, 2011.]

    Another great review! So glad I found this site.

    Just watched this episode for the first time and my initial impression of the Potentials is: Ugh. I thought that maybe I would be okay with them because I’ve generally liked a lot of the polarizing or unpopular characters (e.g., Riley, Dawn). From what I’ve read, I may be the only person ever to watch Buffy who was okay with Riley’s wife Sam. But the Potentials, at least in the episode, just seemed like an annoying intrusion and were pretty much interchangeable except for their accents. (I don’t have an ear for accents though so I can’t hate on them for their accents being terrible.) I was really wishing that Potential with the pink hair from the second episode had survived because she at least seemed interesting. Well, maybe the Potentials will improve in my estimation…

    I loved the Ubervamp fight scenes (great nod to the Terminator as Nathan. Taurus noted). But I agree with MikeJer re: Buffy’s repeated overstating of the significance of the first in Amends. I’ve been watching the series straight through for the first time over the last couple of months and I didn’t even remember Buffy’s encounter with the First in Amends.

    Overall a pretty good episode though.

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  40. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 19, 2011.]

    -If the Slayer line is gone, the world will still survive. We don’t need a Slayer as one Slayer in one location is nothing compared to demons/vampires throughout the world.

    -Giles said without a Slayer the Hellmouth has no guardian. The Hellmouth had no guardian until 1996 so this statement is useless.

    -The Turok-Han is supposed to be really strong, but having it not get crushed by the tubing is absolutely stupid. If it was that powerful it would kill the Scoobies and Potentials easy.

    -Buffy’s ending speech still makes me proud.

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  41. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on June 10, 2012.]

    Was it diluted holy water? Just enough that it didn’t leave burn marks, but still concentrated enough to itch like Hell (ironic), just to make Spike think they didn’t know what they were doing, drowning someone who didn’t need to breathe, until finding out that it actually hurt?

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  42. [Note: Kez posted this comment on July 26, 2012.]

    Maybe vamps breathe out of habit so drowning is still uncomfortable for them. That’s how I justify scenes like that, anyway.

    That speech must have been a pain for SMG to learn! I never really noticed how long and repetitive it was until I saw it in writing.

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  43. [Note: Miss Jay posted this comment on February 13, 2013.]

    Chiming in late with lots of thoughts.

    All in all, this episode is lacking for me in so many areas. I do like the scoobies initial response to the impending apocalypse – they are so casual, it makes me smile. And all the scenes with Andrew crack me up.

    About the second fight between Buffy and the Ubervamp. Her getting totally whomped on was good, and I’m ok with it not finishing her off when it could. When the First as Dru is asking Spike if he knows why he is alive, it is because the First wishes it. That applies for Buffy as well. The scene right before it is the scoobies finding Buffy. The juxtaposition of the scene cuts seems to imply this reason is for both of them. Why the First wishes it is still a mystery.

    On to my complaint about the chase/fight itself. Is the Ubervamp supposed to be sort of toying with her? Is it so strong and confident that it doesn’t need to use it’s vamp speed or senses? (she was bleeding – it should have sniffed her out in a literal heartbeat) Buffy’s limp is just gimpy and weird, and takes me out of the moment. What should be a suspenseful scene comes across as lumbering and slow. It reminds me of Pepe le Pew chasing the cat.

    And speaking of not using vamp strength, when Buffy escapes out of the underground cave after the first fight, it is foiled by her climbing faster that it can JUMP? Why does it not just jump up and grab her before she gets to the top? In the first fight, it does not appear to have chosen to let her go. Which isn’t convincing to me. Both scenes fell very short of what I have come to expect from Buffy.

    As for Giles, it’s like a painful echo of what is currently going on in AtS S4 with Cordy. On Angel, we have a main character taken over at by Evil, but the viewer doesn’t know this yet. In the process her character is doing some very strange things and we lose everything we love about her. On Buffy, it seems the writers want to leave it ambiguous if Giles is Dead/FE. In the process his character seems flat, awkward, and unnatural. And I really really really craved a hug between Buffy and Giles. Or any physical contact.

    It feels like the writers on both shows have some general ideas for Cordy/Jasmine & The Joyce/First, but want to leave it open for stuff later to be taken one way or another depending on which way they want to swing things. But it just comes off sloppy and confusing.

    I know I am in the minority here, but in my opinion the speech at the end was overly dramatic in an underly whelming sort of way. I want to like it, and I can’t quite put my finger on why I don’t. Maybe I don’t quite buy that she goes from utterly defeated to Ms. Braveheart in less than 30 seconds. Maybe because the ‘rally the troops in the face of certain death’ speeches are more ‘rousing’. (Though her being more energetic wouldn’t really fit well here.) In general these types of speeches lack substance and are meant to get people emotionally invested. But emotionally I can’t get to that place at the end where I am all in.

    Conner & The Potentials. This is where I gave up on both series the first time through. I just lost interest during one of the breaks in the season awaiting new episodes. The further I got away from the last episode I watched, the less I cared. It has been easier to get through on dvd. And even more helpful, these reviews are showing me insights and connections I didn’t notice the first time through, and teaching me I can see brilliance in character development, even if I don’t especially like the path they are given.

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  44. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 24, 2013.]

    It’s interesting how Buffy has now kept the habit to conceal a lot of things from the others. They’re all very opened with what they saw (except for Dawn, but for one particular reason), here, there’s nothing to keep Buffy to tell about her vision/dream. Before that, like she had kept the return of Angel secret, she kept the return of Spike for herself. She always talks to Spike alone, which doesn’t allow the others to witness the changes or his suffering.

    Then, she can’t even admit to her best friend that she needs help. But the first real mistake comes from Giles who puts too much pressure on her (I was glad Xander saw it): she finally admits her doubts and while the answer about her calling all the shots “you have all my faith” is heartfelt, this is not what Buffy needed. Buffy is special because of who and what she is, but also because of the group. If Giles had played the you’re not alone card, maybe Buffy wouldn’t have taken the role of General-you-do-as-I-say-because-I’m-superior-and-all-knowing later on. Then, she can hear Giles saying: “Buffy was the plan”, it doesn’t help. This episode is very good in setting up the development of the characters in the future, though I really don’t like what they did with Giles.

    I enjoyed the setup for Robin Wood (this name will always make me laugh). The first time I watched season 7, I really thought he was a big bad. And Dawn is hilarious when she comes with pathetic explanations for cover.

    Also, at this point, Kennedy is the most interesting Potential because she has a personality and opinions.

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  45. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on September 9, 2013.]

    This episode deserves an A+ just for Andrew’s line: “I went over to the dark side, but just to pick up a few things, but I’m back now…”

    Excuse me, I have to go die from laughter now.

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  46. [Note: EdwardH posted this comment on January 16, 2014.]

    I think everyone has overlooked one thing about the Ubervamp that defeated Buffy and the ones in Chosen. The one that battered Buffy had just fed on one of the potentials, making it much stronger. The ones in the cave in Chosen had not fed and were, possibly, only recently activated from some form of hibernation. I believe the First also mentions something about the full moon being needed for the Ubervamps to be at full strength.

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  47. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    I’m a first-timer when it comes to BTVS and I was just reading some of the comments on here as I always do after an episode and I don’t usually comment much (just lurk and silently agree or disagree to certain stuff) but this time, I really felt the need to comment.

    First of all, I can totally see why people hate the Potentials, they’ve been introduced in a rather hasty way and their accents–god, their accents make me want to tear my ears off, it’s insulting, really, especially because BTVS has always been sooo damn good and spot on with their casting. AH, SMG, JM, DB etc were all seriously born for their roles as Willow, Buffy, Spike and Angel, and that’s what I’ll always see them as. Even the minor roles as someone mentioned above like, Drusilla, Darla, Clem, Anya, Dawn etc were all well-cast. It just comes to me as a surprise that these ‘potentials’ are such boring, useless characters and most of the actresses are just awful. It’s true, a lot of people probably hate the season because it takes away from our Core Four, and I really would’ve liked to see more of our Core Four, however it’s also true that they grew apart overtime and it’s natural that the final season need not revolve around them, but if they had to show the potentials, couldn’t they do it more briefly? Instead of having them steal precious screen time from characters we’ve come to know and actually love? I would’ve liked to see old favourites like Oz and Cordy (even though I know Cordy couldn’t come on because of being under Jasmine’s influence and on an entirely different show) but I always did feel slightly bad that they never had her appear on BTVS again for a crossover.
    I wish the BTVS gang could’ve seen how much Cordy had changed and grown as a character, they probably still remember her as the snotty, materialistic bitch she was in season 1. Which is disappointing, to say the least.

    Anyway, I also hate the fact that Kennedy is hitting on Willow, and although I haven’t seen their relationship as yet, I’m sure I’ll dislike it. I really can’t see Willow with anyone other than Tara, but I also agree on the fact that they should’ve made her bi, really, HOW does one go from being totally straight to totally lesbian? Makes no sense to me.
    Another thing that bothers me is that people keep waving Buffy’s speech off as cheesy and melodramatic. I myself, am someone who really dislikes anything that’s corny and overdramatic, however I don’t feel Buffy’s speech was at all any of that. Buffy’s been through hell-heaven and back, literally! She’s gone through a lot, and as they mention in CWDP, after saving the world and averting an Apocalypse clearly more than once, it’s in character for her to feel slightly superior and say the things she said, like, “The only thing more powerful than evil. Is us.” (or something like that) Also, she’s been put up on a pedestal, more than once, by the Scooby gang, by Giles, by the whole world, really, so it’s natural for her to want to restore some of their faith in her by saying the things she said, she’s under a hell of a lot of pressure, she’s already in shock after the creepy dream visits from Joyce/The first, the fact that Spike’s missing and could be dead for all she knows (notice her look of concern when Anya says that he may be dead or ‘all of the above’) and then Giles coming back, the Council getting blown up, all the potential slayers up her ass (sorry for my use of language xD) my point being, damn, that’s a lot of pressure to be under! And after that, she gets totally beat up by this ubervamp, she isn’t used to being defeated, and despite how scared she is, she’s done being pushed around, it shows how strong her character is and definetely atleast imho defines her s7 arc very well, after 7 years of all this bullshit, she’s taking a stand. And she’s ready to kick some ass. I’m sorry about my ramblings, I just really hate when people criticize Buffy, I mean put yourselves in her place…That character has gone through shit you couldn’t even dream of, cut her some slack. Plus, SMG’s delivery of the speech was very strong, and I really AM surprised she didn’t win anything for her acting here.

    Lastly, I agree that season 7 may not be Buffy’s strongest, but really, there are so many AMAZING shows that have screwed up by the end of them, like imo Lost, Gossip Girl, and so many others. It’s normal and I think people shouldn’t be so critical, although, I do agree that there was soo much more they could have done with this season, and I don’t like the direction it’s heading in. Still, as someone else mentioned above, it’s still one of the best tv shows in the history of the world and I have alot of rewatchings to come! 😀

    Sorry for my extremely long rant. I’m done now.
    Blaming it on the feels.

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  48. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    That was a wonderful comment – very good to read.

    It’s certainly true that Buffy’s speeches aren’t exactly a popular aspect of this much-maligned season, but for my own part, I actually quite like them. Granted, they’re not exactly Churchill by any stretch of the imagination, but what’s more important than that, I feel, is that they are honest to the character. Buffy has never been one for eloquence in her speech (think back to the message that she gave to Jenny for Giles in “Prophecy Girl”), and if she had suddenly started spouting oratory that would rival the St. Crispin’s Day speech, it would have been an out-of-character moment. Instead, what we get feels like it’s coming from Buffy’s heart – which I think owes more to SMG really selling the delivery than anything else. Because of that, I find her speech in this episode (and especially the one in “Chosen”) to be moving – and that’s all that I really need from them.

    On the other hand, I’ve pretty much got a complete understanding for where you’re coming from on the Potentials. They may be one of the best examples on a show I’ve seen, of an idea that sounds good when expressed in theory (insofar as they do serve an important thematic function), but got completely botched in execution.

    On the other hand, I have no problems at all with the handling of Willow’s sexuality, which to me is perfectly sensible/true to life. You don’t have to go looking far (the beauty of the internet) to find plenty of stories of people who have had (or know other who have had) experiences with their sexual orientation that resemble hers.

    What *is* a problem, plain and simple, is Kennedy – a character so abysmally unlikable that it’s painful to see so much of Willow’s role in the season get eaten up in developing a relationship between them.

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  49. [Note: Darth Rosenberg posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    I totally agree about the whole Willow/Kennedy thing. I haven’t seen Season 7 in a while so I may be wrong but I never, not once, saw Willow show any attraction to Kennedy. So it just makes it that much more annoying that Kennedy immediately assumes that Willow is a lesbian. What the hell?! Does she have some sort of lesbometer or something? Unless Willow dressed like the stereotypical lesbian with short hair and body piercings, there is no way anyone could tell.
    I do understand why the writers decided to make Kennedy her girlfriend. This was at a time when a lot of people were accusing Joss Whedon of being homophobic, because of Tara’s death. I still thought it could have been handled better though. Another thing people forget to bring up is that Kennedy is just a kid! Willow is a 23-year old woman who has matured a lot over the past summer, so I refuse to believe she’d ever date an immature 17 year old (which by the way, is kinda illegal). I never was a huge Willow/Tara fan, but I always understood why Willow liked her. Will has lots of chemistry with Xander, Tara, and Oz. She has none with Kennedy. I also agree that I would’ve liked to see Cordy and Oz come back, although I understand that Cordy was possessed by Jasmine on Angel and Seth Green was doing his on thing. Still would’ve been nice to see the Scooby Gang’s reactions to how much Wesley, Cordy, and Oz have changed since they last saw them.
    Ridiculously long rant over.

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  50. [Note: Darth Rosenberg posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    One funny thing I’ve noticed is how Will dresses more like the stereotypical lesbian when she was with Oz, not Tara. Around the 3rd season, Will starts to becomes more comfortable in her skin, and starts dressing in more tomboyish outfits and begins cutting her hair short. But she starts dressing girlier and grows back her hair while she was with Tara.

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  51. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    About the Willow’s sexuality thing, I guess you make a pretty fair point, it is true, it can happen and is completely normal. I just feel like maybe the writers could have handled it better, you know? How does Kennedy instantly just know that Willow’s gay, does she have some kind of gay-dar or something? Haha. Anyway, my real problem is their relationship, Kennedy’s character just isn’t well defined enough to be with Willow, one of Willow’s relationships that I disliked the most was with Xander, and I’d even pick the Willow-Xander relationship over this one.

    That’s true as well! The initial idea of the Potentials is actually a really good one, and they could have done so much better with it, especially if the Potentials weren’t as whiny and annoying and a little more…you know, Slayer-like. I mean, they would like us to believe that it is Fate that decides Slayers, so if someone is to be, say, a potential slayer…shouldn’t they have more…Potential?

    Anyway, this is the first time I’ve ever been involved in a discussion on this site, so yay! And I didn’t honestly think anyone would read that superlong rant of mine. Hehe.

    Like

  52. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    Exactly! Unless Kennedy just hits on any girl she likes, regardless of whether they play on the same team or not. But even, if so, why would they make her hit on the one girl that does? It would make more sense if she hit on Buffy or Dawn or someone, it would be comical, and we’d come to understand that she is a lesbian in a less corny way.

    And yes! I heard about that, people accusing Josh of being homophobic–I found that to be absolutely ridiculous. Josh kills off a huge lot of his characters, any Whedon/Buffy/Angel fans would know that, also, Tara was one of the most sweet, adored and appreciated characters on BTVS, for god’s sake. And Willow and Tara’s relationship really helped shape the TV we watch today, making people more comfortable with gay relationships on screen. If Josh was homophobic, why on earth would he create a gay character in the first place? Ridiculous, in my opinion.
    I don’t know, did they mention Kennedy’s age somewhere? Because I never really did know what her age was, or how the whole age factor works in gay relationships, if you know what I mean. I know that she’s older than the rest of the Potentials, and that’s about all that I know. Regardless, I really dislike her character and the ‘relationship’ (or whatever it is) that she has with Willow. And it’s true, AH has chemistry with almost everyone she works with (in a romantic sense) but certainly none with Kennedy.
    As for the dressing stereotype, I never really paid too much heat to the way that Willow dressed, I think it was just a constant change that didn’t mean much, (A lot like Anya and Buffy’s constant hairstyle and hair color experiments throughout the seasons), so I wouldn’t dwell on that stuff too much.
    True, but yes, it would have been interesting to see the Scooby gangs reactions to the new and improved Cordy and Wes, totally. Oh, well!

    And your rant really wasn’t that long, not compared to mine. Haha! =)

    Like

  53. [Note: Phoebe posted this comment on July 14, 2014.]

    In the script Kennedy is listed as a 19 years old girl, which makes sense considering that in Showtime she expresses her concerns about not becoming a slayer since she’s the oldest of the potentials 🙂

    Like

  54. [Note: Keith posted this comment on July 30, 2014.]

    I didn’t like this episode at all. Not because of the Potentials, either, although they do get to be grating. Rather, the writers completely lose the plot in the second half. One of the potentials runs off to . . . the docks? And Buffy knows to look for her there? And then the Ubervamp kicks her ass but doesn’t kill her, despite having ample opportunity to do so? And then the whole gang is able to walk out unprotected from the Ubervamp to find Buffy bloodied and beaten? Also knowing to look down by the docks, or wherever the hell they are?

    Wasn’t Ubervamp’s whole raison d’etre to kill Buffy and the Potentials? So then why did he run away instead of taking the opportunity to finish the job right then? Couldn’t they have at least thrown an “It has to happen at the right time or the line can’t be eliminated” line or 2 of exposition at us to help explain this plot hole? Am I the only one annoyed by criticism in the form of rhetorical questions?

    All this adds up to really poor plotting. I actually enjoyed “Showtime” quite a lot, so at least there was a payoff to this set-up, but the set-up was incredibly clumsy and sucked some of the verve out of the two-parter for me.

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  55. [Note: Rob W posted this comment on August 29, 2014.]

    I’ve always hated the Potentials, I suppose because I figured they were evidence that the show’s creators were mishandling things, perhaps because Joss was preoccupied with other ventures. But I got to thinking today though about the moment when the Potentials first walk in the door of 1630 Revello. Immediately they make a bad impression with their criticisms, and I think this is by design.

    S7 is all about pushing Buffy to the point where she realizes the whole Slayer thing is a crock, that’s it’s completely unfair to put all that weight on one person’s shoulders, and that the only way out is to break the system altogether. Having the burden of the Potentials’ safety placed on her shoulders by Giles is a big part of that. She can’t even retreat from them to her own house since they’re living with her, always underfoot.

    She’s already learned that the Council won’t help (especially now that they’re dead). Her mother’s gone. No one living in the house seems to think that they have any responsibility to help financially. Now in S7 she’s also got Spike effectively guilt-tripping her (I took on all this suffering for you), and gets betrayed once again by Giles and then by the Scoobies, including her own sister. Even the whole town essentially abandons her. All these things make it easy to justify Buffy’s eventual decision to cast off the burden of being the only Chosen one.

    Thinking about this makes it a little easier for me to watch the Potentials. The bad accents thing is still a problem though. I can’t think of any way to make that square, the creators just blew it. Maybe they figured that people still liked Angel despite his crummy Irish accent, so…

    Like

  56. [Note: Rob W posted this comment on August 29, 2014.]

    I’ve always hated the Potentials, I suppose because I figured they were evidence that the show’s creators were mishandling things, perhaps because Joss was preoccupied with other ventures. But I got to thinking today about the moment when the Potentials first walk in the door of 1630 Revello. Immediately they make a bad impression with their criticisms, and I think this is by design.

    S7 is all about pushing Buffy to the point where she realizes the whole Slayer thing is a crock, that’s it’s completely unfair to put all that weight on one person’s shoulders, and that the only way out is to break the system altogether. Having the burden of the Potentials’ safety placed on her by Giles is a big part of that. She can’t even retreat from them to her own house since they’re living with her, always underfoot.

    She’s already learned that the Council won’t help (especially now that they’re dead). Her mother’s gone. No one living in the house seems to think that they have any responsibility to help financially. Now in S7 she’s also got Spike effectively guilt-tripping her (I took on all this suffering for you), and gets betrayed once again by Giles and then by the Scoobies, including her own sister. Even the whole town essentially abandons her. All these things make it easy to justify Buffy’s eventual decision to cast off the burden of being the only Chosen one.

    Thinking about this makes it a little easier for me to watch the Potentials. The bad accents thing is still a problem though. I can’t think of any way to make that square, the creators just blew it. Maybe they figured that people still liked Angel despite his crummy Irish accent, so…

    Like

  57. [Note: Rob W posted this comment on August 30, 2014.]

    Drusilla’s accent seems to change during her last exchange with Spike, becomes less attempted-Cockney than usual:

    “What makes you think you will ever be any good a-tall in this world?”

    Any Brits care to comment? I mean, I know her accent has never been stellar (“Spoik”), so you can’t exactly expect it to be consistent, but it made me wonder if this were at all intentional. Perhaps it’s just the haughty tone in which she delivers it that makes me think this.

    Like

  58. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on August 31, 2014.]

    I am not British, but I noticed it too. I always assumed it was the First acting more like the First and less like Drusilla.

    Like

  59. [Note: Vincent posted this comment on April 25, 2015.]

    I kind of liked this episode.
    The old vampire was really scary and the fights were intense. It was nice to see Drusilla and Joyce again (sorry to put those two in the same group, it’s a coincidence).
    I still don’t understand why we saw Giles being attacked… and now he’s perfectly normal. It’s weird.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t say this reconciliates me with the season, but it was honest.

    Like

  60. [Note: Mike posted this comment on July 8, 2015.]

    i dont know if this was brought up. but one thing that annoyed me to no end in this episode was the ubervamp torturing spike by holding him underwater????!???!?? really!!?? VAMPIRES DONT BREATHE. you see him choking and gasping for air and what not. it just really killed the episode for me.

    the beating him up etc sure but the trying to drown a vampire. by another vampire no less seems really retarded

    Like

  61. [Note: Joy posted this comment on July 9, 2015.]

    i dont know if this was brought up. but one thing that annoyed me to no end in this episode was the ubervamp torturing spike by holding him underwater????!???!?? really!!?? VAMPIRES DONT BREATHE. you see him choking and gasping for air and what not. it just really killed the episode for me.

    the beating him up etc sure but the trying to drown a vampire. by another vampire no less seems really retarded

    That always annoys me, too. Totally should not have happened.

    Like

  62. [Note: alan24 posted this comment on October 9, 2015.]

    Re Buffy’s final speech: clearly I am in a minority, but I just don’t see what there is to enjoy in it. Just try to imagine it in the context of any of the earlier seasons: 1, or 2, or 3, or … In those seasons the only preaching is done by Giles in his early naive-Watcher mode in S1, by Wesley in S3, and a bit by the Council when they visit. Giles and Wesley get thoroughly mocked for it, with Buffy prominent in the debunking; the Council is distrusted and disliked. Now we are expected to listen and enjoy Buffy becoming … boring. In all seasons Buffy saves the world, a lot, but she is far more entertaining when she does so as an irritating distraction from the far more important business of developing her social life.

    Yes the character has “developed” into a leader, but there is still a big difference between preaching and showing. What she *does* in finally defeating the monster in Showtime is hugely impressive, and a great role-model for the potentials. What she *says*, in this episode, is unimpressive, and she was lucky the remaining potentials sat & listened to it: it would have been rather more in character if they had instantly clubbed together to pay for a taxi to the airport.

    I agree with carambolage #28: this is where subtlety, wit & multiple layers get replaced with something mind-numbingly reminiscent of a war-hungry politician. I expect better of Buffy.

    Like

  63. [Note: alan24 posted this comment on October 9, 2015.]

    P.S. to last comment: perhaps I should add that I enjoyed the rest of the episode, it’s not the very best but most of it is good. I even enjoyed the potentials: clearly I am going to remain in the minority there. It was just that speech I was commenting on.

    Like

  64. [Note: Melody303 posted this comment on November 28, 2015.]

    I loved Buffy’s speech here, and on the first time watching the show, it was very promising of what was to come.
    The fault lies with the lack of delivery on that promise. The speech turned out to be empty words and nothing more.

    Like

  65. [Note: Nathan posted this comment on January 4, 2016.]

    I said it before but Giles overstating the impact no Slayer will have on the world and the statement that the Hellmouth will have no guardian is still hilarious. Buffy is the first known guardian of the Hellmouth.

    The Potentials arrive. If the amount of girls was kept to half a dozen for the entire season it would have been better.

    Still, overall it is a strong enough episode.

    Like

  66. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 5, 2016.]

    You know the parallels with Lord of the Rings weren’t really apparent to me until this site pointed them out:
    https://criticalviewing.wordpress.com

    but once you notice them you can’t unsee it. Essentially we have an evil that doesn’t have a corporeal form that now has an opportunity to get in a position of power again after many years, an army of monsters that are an alternative form of a known immortal race in this world and a powerful guy that decides to betray this teachings so he can join the evil’s side and there are several magical objects that are the key to defeating the evil. The guy also mentioned the Helms Deep-esque battle at the end but I think that about covers it. The dude also had a good point in that these vampires are essentially stripped of everything that makes a vampire cool.

    I’m surprised they gave away one of the key plot points in Signs less than a year after it’s release. You’d think somebody would be miffed.

    Like

  67. [Note: Froof posted this comment on March 7, 2016.]

    The comments about Willows sexuality, of course she can go from all boys to all girls. She says herself that she “discovers” her gayness, and that is totally real (I would know, having done that myself). It’s not so much about changing preference as discovering how something should really feel like. Also, when the world (and you) are telling yourself that you like boys, it is not hard to be fooled. But once you get a taste of the real thing, you could never go back.

    ALTHOUGH, being bi is a really hushed thing in pop culture, everyone is either gay och straight, or jumping from one to another. Therefore it wouldn’t hurt to have made Willow bi, but on the other hand Anya seems to be so what ever 🙂

    And I love Kennedy, especially in the comics!

    Like

  68. [Note: Joan posted this comment on February 3, 2017.]

    I think the strength of the ubervamps varies from vamp to vamp or the first uber vamp released was the oldest and the strongest. This is the explanation the writers should have used and one the characters don’t have to be aware of

    Like

  69. [Note: Joan posted this comment on February 3, 2017.]

    I’m gay but when I was younger I dated girls to conform to the social norms of my environment but Willow is bisexual not gay maybe she realized she was gay later in life after suppressing it

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