Buffy 7×11: Showtime

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: Michael Grossman | Aired: 01/07/2003]

I’m going to just come out and say it: “Showtime” is a poor episode, and it’s pretty easy to explain why. The first 75% of the episode is pretty much a waste of space. While I very much enjoyed the last act of the episode, involving the big Ubervamp fight, I can’t say as much for very much else in the episode. “Showtime” is yet another very plot-heavy episode, only it’s not nearly as well-written, paced, and structured as “Bring on the Night” [7×10], feeling largely made up of padding to the big showdown. That padding is not even all that entertaining on top of it. While there are a few scenes and some bits and pieces I appreciated, there’s just, sadly, not a lot here.

To begin explaining the problems, I think I’ll start with Eve, who I found to be excessively poorly acted, almost to the point of being cringe-worthy — and I don’t often use that term. A lot of the episode seems built around the First talking its head off while masquerading as a Potential, but the actress casted to play Eve simply cannot handle the part. That’s just where the problems begin, though. Moving onto Giles, I’m still not too happy that he is apparently bankrupt of ideas. He keeps saying he’s exhausted all his leads, but I don’t get a sense of what he actually makes of all this. At the very least Giles could help offer up some tactics or a generic plan of attack for Buffy — just to contribute in some way.

Anya and Giles’ little side adventure with the Beljoxa’s Eye thing is silly from the start, although it does give Giles at least something to do. I mean, after we see Anya and Giles go in this vortex, I have to wonder why Anya was so adament they couldn’t go there. It’s not like they have to suffer years of torture to go talk to the thing. It actually seems pretty simple. Getting the portal open seemed pretty ridiculous too. Any demon just happens to know how to open it? It just takes a little skin, some blood, and a few words? Ugh, this whole thing just feels really sloppy to me.

As for the conversation with the Eye itself, well, it’s a bit over-the-top for one. The thing that probably bugs me more than anything else is that I found the information it had very revelatory and fascinating, but it was never brought up again! I mean, seriously, why even have this sequence in the episode if this very interesting piece of information is never even going to be told to anyone else? This adds an entirely new layer to everything that happened last season, yet it gets pretty much pushed under the rug. This is one of the few times the Buffy staff slipped up on the core stuff that makes the show so great. Stuff like awesome continuity, character follow-through, and emotionally real stories. I badly wanted to see everyone’s reaction to this news, and would have liked to see it play more into the season’s plot.

Adding to my issues with the episode is the Spike scenes with the First. Although I can understand that Spike would be dreaming of seeing Buffy while being tortured, we already know he’s got faith Buffy will save him. All of the scenes with Spike here (except the final one) feel like redundant filler. Why’s the First wasting its time with Spike at this point, anyway? It should really just kill him off if it can’t convert him. I guess as long as the trigger’s working, it can activate him at the ideal moment, but it almost doesn’t seem worth the risk.

On the brighter side of things, the episode gets some well earned points for the big battle with the Ubervamp towards the end. The big Ubervamp fight is a really entertaining spectacle, and I really dig the point Buffy makes about the Potentials’ fear and how to win this war. Her smackdown with the Ubervamp is painful, long, hard, and rough, and that’s precisely what everyone else must be committed to if they want any hope of succeeding moving forward. It’s a thrilling moment when Buffy lops the Ubervamp’s head off. I just wish the rest of the episode held up to the level of excitement of this sequence.

The episode fortunately ends on a touching note, with Buffy saving Spike — she certainly earned it. The acting really made this little moment kind of special. When Spike touches Buffy’s shoulder to prove that she’s real, it also serves as a symbolic gesture in signifying that their bond and belief in each other is real; that together they’re a powerful team.

Overall, “Showtime” is a pretty unsatisfying episode. There is next to no character development, and the focus on plot doesn’t do it any favors. An explosive final act saves it from the episode wasteland, but it sadly doesn’t make it a good episode. The only thing that’s even sadder is the fact that this marks the beginning of a mid-season slump. It’s a big shame both S6 and S7 suffer from this, as both have excellent starts — S7 having one of the best starts in the entire series. All is not lost though! I feel S7 does pick up steam in its final episodes.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Kennedy continuing to hit on Willow; Willow continuing to be offish and unsure.
+ We get Eve in this episode, which is a negative, but to counter-balance her we also get Felicia Day, or Vi! I’d say overall it’s a net win, because Eve doesn’t stay long.
+ The complete control of the Ubervamp that the First has. It very much seems like a vicious animal.
+ Dawn has a real point: “I’m just not sure more scared Slayer wannabes translates as help.”
+ Dawn and Andrew’s conversation. Hilarious.
+ Creepy seeing black-robed Bringers surrounding the house.
+ Kennedy’s continued optimism. I really like how she’s helping Buffy keep the other Potentials from getting too complacent in their worry.
+ Willow having to prep herself for doing a big spell.
+ Kennedy trying to have some fun by saying she’d almost like to see “big bad Willow.” Willow’s response is dead on.

–Β Telepathy? Really? Couldn’t they just excuse themselves from the room for a private chat?


[Score]

61/100

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78 thoughts on “Buffy 7×11: Showtime”

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

    As for the conversation with the Eye itself, well, it’s a bit over-the-top for one. The thing that probably bugs me more than anything else is that I found the information it had very revelatory and fascinating, but it was never brought up again! I mean, seriously, why even have this sequence in the episode if this very interesting piece of information is never even going to be told to anyone else? This adds an entirely new layer to everything that happened last season, yet it gets pretty much pushed under the rug.

    Yep, exactly. I do sort of think though that maybe Giles and Anya didn’t share what they found out because it wasn’t in any way helpful in the situation (was it?) and it would only have made Willow, Xander and probably Buffy herself as well feel worse about it all.

    I also feel (maybe it only makes sense to me) that this knowledge is what starts to push Anya away, in the strange and illogical fashion human brains tend to function (guilt -> defensiveness -> resentment -> enstrangement). Had Xander and Willow been told on-screen at some point, the writers could have used this later in the season to add an interesting psychological layer to the whole Buffy getting overruled and kicked out of the house sequence of events, but for some reason they didn’t do it.

    Telepathy? Really? Couldn’t they just excuse themselves from the room for a private chat?

    I actually thought this was pretty cool use of the special connection the old Scoobies have. Also, probably quite hard to have a private chat in this house at this point.

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

    You forgot to mention this is the episode Rona shows up! Rona is another annoying Potential that I really hate.
    But back to the episode, you did a really good job! I also find the episode very poor, especially the dialogue which I find very forced.

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

    I agree with the score. There’s only one word to describe this episode, and that’s ‘sloppy’. Again, we have an episode that didn’t really need to be an episode at all. It was pretty cheesy as well, and not in the usual self-effacing style Buffy normally did. The fight scenes are admittedly very cool, but when that’s the only redemptive aspect of an episode, you know something’s gone very wrong.

    I agree that the Eye of Beljoxa had so much potential with its revelations! I actually loved the fact that it actually turned out to be a giant eyeball. It was so silly, but that’s BTVS for you.

    Minor cons:
    – When the ubervampire knocks down the front door, not only does the door fly off the wall in the slowest, most unrealistic way ever, but you can actually see the cord that’s pulling it along! It’s in full view.
    – Telepathy! I don’t mind it as a plot device, but this felt really pulled out of the bag with no warning. On top of that, the way in which it was used was unnecessary seeing as the orchestrated plan of giving the girls a demonstration was really stupid. Why didn’t they just go straight to the construction site?! Why bide time?! Why make your unstable friend do a huge protection spell for no reason whatsoever?!

    Ugh, a swing and a miss for David Fury.

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

    I mostly agree with your review and yes this episode is bad but i think that your score is unfair. I’d score it higher. Plus I don’t find Eve a negative choice but a very interesting plot twist. This episode is bad but for me “The Killer in Me” is the worst episode of the season. What do you think Mike?

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

    I completely agree with your take on this review. Although I like Buffy’s final speech to everyone, and the scene with her rescuing Spike is genuinely touching, there’s not much else redeeming about it. The telepathy scene has always driven me insane.

    I do love this quote though:
    Baljoxa’s Eye: The eye sees not the future, only the truth of the now and before.
    Anya: Yes, we’ve all got that – it’s called MEMORY!

    Anya almost never fails to make me laugh.

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

    @Wilpy:

    On top of that, the way in which it was used was unnecessary seeing as the orchestrated plan of giving the girls a demonstration was really stupid. Why didn’t they just go straight to the construction site?! Why bide time?! Why make your unstable friend do a huge protection spell for no reason whatsoever?!

    You’re not making a totally unfair point there, but that whole scheme can be thought of as mentally inoculating the Potentials against blind panic as well as improving their confidence in Buffy et al (which they really were in need of at this point). My point being that the girls were allowed to think for a little while that things were seriously out-of-control bad, then they were not merely told but clearly shown that everything went in fact according to plan and that Buffy was on top of the situation.

    Gotta hand it to Buffy though: she’s got real guts, putting herself in a situation in which failing to win her fight with the Ubervamp in front of everybody was simply not an option. But then we all knew she has them. πŸ™‚

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

    Miss Kitty, that line is amazing! Haha. I also love when the Eye goes “what, am I talking to myself here? There’s no way.” It was such a change of tone.

    Paula, I guess that explanation makes sense. It’s just, in hindsight, it all seems kind of pointless having all that build up. I remember being very tense and on the edge of my seat when I first watched it, though, so perhaps it’s one of those things that really only works on initial viewing.

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  8. [Note: Sam posted this comment on April 14, 2009.]

    Before I comment on Bring on the Night, I want to say that–with the sole exception of the telepathy scene (I liked it)–I completely agree with you, Mike, on everything you wrote about this episode. Your grade, your analysis, your point-by-point breakdown. Love Vi (and Rona), hate Eve; Kennedy is good as a Potential, but not so much as Willow’s girlfriend (I guess the writers needed to placate the fans who were still livid over Tara’s murder) the episode is pointless until the awesome smackdown finale; the dumb Beljoxa’s Eye; and, worst of all, the failure to develop what could have been an amazing piece of material–Buffy’s resurrection as the catalyst for the First’s master plan. What a missed opportunity!

    Thanks for your insightful piece. I can’t wait for you to rip “Potential” a new one, because I loathe Amanda.

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

    Well, again a very interesting review! I quite disagree with it. In fact no, I agree but eh I’m just a fangirl, and Buffy sayin’ “I’m what monsters have nightmares about” in this light…I can forgive anything! ^^ and it becomes one of the episodes i can watch and rewatch.
    You said that except few pieces only the last act is worthy, but how cool a teaser was that? come on! Rona arrived, with a big welcome! And she was still a funny original potential!

    I can’t wait until the next review ^^

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  10. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on April 16, 2009.]

    Yeah, “I’m what monsters have nightmares about” and “Welcome to the Hellmouth” are some pretty great lines. It makes up for the thunderdome crap.

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  11. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on April 17, 2009.]

    Sam, you´re being a little harsh with Potential. The episode is actually pretty good and I like all the Potentials here, plus Buffy teaching them and that opening scene is great.

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  12. [Note: Tommy posted this comment on April 18, 2009.]

    I don’t wish to say ‘Unfair review’. It feels as though i’m saying your opinion is wrong. But i honestly didn’t see that much bad in this episode. Infact i rate it as one of my top 50.

    Sure the scene with the Beljoxa’s eye could have been better. And The First didn’t seem to achieve much by masquerading as Eve. But hey, give it a break. There’s been worse ones.

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  13. [Note: Nix posted this comment on April 18, 2009.]

    I’d say the First did achieve something: it demoralized and scared everyone. It’s one thing to know that it is omnipresent, it’s another thing to *see* it.

    (But I’m still amazed that nobody ever tried to, y’know, *touch* Eve. How can you even pretend to be in training without touching any physical objects or co-trainees at all?)

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  14. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on April 18, 2009.]

    hum….. Eve seemed pretty lazy for the start. And annoying. So it makes sense. Hell, I’m glad she’s not an actual potential! But you got a point here, an infiltrated First can’t be consistent. And he’s so much scarier when it just, you know, comes by to make a surprise instead of hanging on. That just makes the hole Giles-First twist sillier…

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  15. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 21, 2009.]

    I really like this episode. However, once I read your review, I agreed with many of your points, except the telepathy one. Subjectively, though, I can’t help but like this ep. The only thing that *really* turns me off is Eve- can’t stand the actress.
    I agree with Paula about the telepathy- it shows how close the Scoobies have gotten, and it is pretty difficult to have a conversation in such a crowded house. You also said that they should have asked to be excused- the Potentials aren’t stupid (well, they’re not *that* stupid) and they would’ve realized that something is going on. Then we wouldn’t have had the resolution to the problem the way we did.

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

    For starters, as a Southerner, Eve’s accent drove me up a wall! it was like nails on a chalkboard! Why does anyone doing a Southern accent always have to over-exaggerate it?

    Kennedy still grates on my nerves.

    Beljoxxa’s Eye? Meh. A few halfway decent lines but otherwise it did nothing for me.

    The telepathy seemed a little too convenient to me.

    Plus I agree with wilpy, why would Buffy have a still magickally shaky Willow do a powerful, potentially harmful yet ultimately unnecessary spell? Hardly seem like a wise use of her resources.

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  17. [Note: Susan posted this comment on October 19, 2009.]

    Just rewatched this episode last night. The telepathy thing was used in the first episode of Season 6 with Willow on the roof giving telepathic directions to the rest of the scoobies in the cemetary when they were patrolling with the Buffybot. So maybe this wasn’t such an unusual thing for them to do. And I have to admit that on re-watching this season I’m finding that I don’t dislike the potentials as much as I originally did. Some are definitely more likable than others, including Kennedy who was one I hated originally. I still don’t like her as Willow’s girlfriend but she seems to me more likable than many of the others at this point. But it is mentioned that the potentials are around 15 years old which would make her pretty young for Willow anyway. Does anyone recall anything referring to the potentials when Kennedy’s age was mentioned or implied? Is she supposed to be older than the other girls?

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  18. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on October 19, 2009.]

    The potentials they’ve gathered range in age from around 15 to 20, I think, and Kennedy is one of the older ones (which is also probably why she has more of a problem accepting authority from Buffy and the others than the rest of the potentials do). You can be a 40 year old potential if you weren’t ever called. Since there’s always a pool of potentials to select from, the younger ones usually get called, I guess because they are a more prime age or something.

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  19. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on October 28, 2009.]

    I agree with this review. The beljoxa’s eye thing was weak and went nowhere, and I really hated Rona. I did like most of the potentials, but Rona and Kennedy were unbearable for me. The rescuing Spike scene was lovely, though, and I’m no spuffy!

    Following on from what Leelu said, why weren’t there any older potentials? It could have been cool to have a few who were 20/30 or even 50/60. It always seemd a bit odd to me that all the potentials were around 16.

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  20. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on October 28, 2009.]

    @Lucy: They have some older potentials in the Season Eight comic. Just none were shown in the television series. Not to mention that Fray was in her mid-twenties when she got called, I think.

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

    First off, what was the Summers’ front door made of – steel? It took the Turok-Han many hits to open it and that was before Willow did the spell.

    Agree with the comments but not the score. I think it deserves at least a 70, even if most of it is the great fight at the end, Anya’s “Memory” line and saving Spike.

    Kennedy refered a little to her age by saying she thinks she might even be too old.

    The potentials all look over 17 to me, but that might just be to me.

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

    So has this been completely answered? Is the irregularity that now two Slayers “officially” exist? When Buffy came back to life the first time, there was no mystical revival and was not detected by whatever controls the line and was therefore not connected to the line. So Kendra then Faith were the real Slayers. When Buffy was brought back by magic, did this re-activate her slayer status? Was this the irregularity?

    Has anyone else noticed that by the end of the series all the Angel characters even Fred have become pretty good warriors? Angel is not ALWAYS the savior (though he is on many occasions), but on Buffy, in battle, eventually, she has to swoop in to get her friends out of messes (Xander fighting the Bringer in the backyard).

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  23. [Note: Sven posted this comment on July 23, 2010.]

    I see this episode, and I’m reminded of Deep Space Nine. There, they used frequent blood screenings to try to root out any Changelings in their midst. It was only partially successful, but it was something.

    Unless I missed something, they know the First is noncorporeal at this point, right (if they don’t, please ignore this post altogether πŸ˜› )? So why not just make it standard procedure to shake hands every time you meet someone to make sure it’s really them? It would’ve saved a lot of trouble, and if indeed they know about the noncorporeal bit it seems stupid that they don’t.

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

    i’d just like to add that the fight scene in this episode drove me mad as there were so many times you could see that it was the stunt double and not SMG. You can see her face too many times. So many things in season 7 just seem like they couldn’t be bothered and just wanted to get things over and done with. Sloppy writing, serious inconsistencies, sloppy editing in fight scenes, terrible accents. Don’t get me wrong, i do like this season overall but there are too many things that were wrong and could have easily been righted which, as a big fan of the show, insults me.

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  25. [Note: projectrunaway posted this comment on November 4, 2010.]

    Nice review, Mike. You summed up cogently the many weaknesses of this episode. But as you wrote, there were a few strengths, too. The uberfight was great. Also, like you, I was moved by that final scene with Spike. This is my second time viewing the entire series straight through, and this time I’m really enjoying the character arc of the Buffy/Spike relationship. It’s just so…rich. The Buffy/Angel romance had the youth and purity of first love. The Buffy/Spike relationship reflectsthe depth of a more mature (but still love-filled) bond. Both are real and true.

    Thanks again for another insightful review.

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  26. [Note: John posted this comment on January 11, 2011.]

    To add to Aisha’s comments; I found it rather bizarre that Willow in particular was not utilized to fight the ubervamp. While she was still suffering the aftereffects of the First’s possession, I can’t see a spell to immobilize or hinder the Ubervamp in some way posing any kind of risk for her. It kind of bothered me that everyone was moping around about how to fight the Ubervamp when they had someone many times stronger than Buffy sitting right next to them; Willow operating at even five percent capacity should have been an extremely powerful tool against the Ubervamp.

    While Willow’s struggle to control her magic was certainly a good character arc, it disappointed me that she doesn’t often get to show off the strength she’s developed in S7. It’s a huge part of her character development and yet she’s often still relying on Buffy to save her; see the Ubervamp and the Bringer attack on the house earlier on in the season. She stops a spider demon with a wave of her hand but can’t do anything to intruders except punch them? Didn’t make a ton of sense; even if she was struggling to control bigger spells she could easily do something simple and straightforward like floating a knife.

    While it wouldn’t be fitting for her to steal the show from Buffy, I would have loved to see her utilize her new personal strength a bit more.

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  27. [Note: John posted this comment on January 13, 2011.]

    Also, oh how I wish Eve had convinced all of the Potentials (Vi excepted, maybe πŸ˜› ) to up and run to their deaths in this episode. Would have been great. πŸ˜€

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  28. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    I had just finished watching this episode and saw the score that you gave it and was coming here to stick up for the episode and make an arguement for a higher score. However, after I actually read your review, I find myself agreeing with you. I think I was romanced by the final two scenes. I am a sucker for big, sweeping moments and speeches and the whole fight at the end and the statement that Buffy made had me emotional. Then the final scene with Spike is especially touching. However, as you so expertly wrote in your review, that is about all the episode had going for it.

    I’m not one to nitpick and can easily let things go (like the fact that no one noticed that Eve didn’t touch anything for at least two days) so this didn’t detract from the episode for me. However, in retrospect, I just feel that the episode was really pretty boring until the final scenes. I really don’t like the potentials (and Kennedy particularly grates, even in successive viewings) and the whole eye thing with Anya and Giles was pointless, save for a couple of laughs.

    As usual in the episode, Anya and Andrew still tickled me. I love them both. Anya’s “those were entrails” line had me rolling.

    As for the telepathy, I liked the way that it was done but agree that it really only works with the first viewing. When you see the scene and don’t realize that they are communicating telepathically then it looks like they are kind of defeated. They slink out of the kitchen and it appears that they have looks of despair on their face. That makes the fight scene and the revelation that it was all set up to teach the potentials a lesson all the more powerful. Upon successive viewings, it may seem kind of unnecessary but I can still remember what I thought the first time.

    @John — Even when Willow made the spider demon stop with a wave of her hand, there was some darkness that got hold of her (remember how her eyes went black and she yelled at the girl in the closet to quit whining?). That was used to set up her fear of using magic for this season so that we have an explanation why all powerful Willow can’t just do something to stop the big bads.

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  29. [Note: John posted this comment on January 22, 2011.]

    Yeah, good point about the darkness with the spider demon, but she throws up a bigass forcefield in this episode with no problem which led me to believe that she’s back in the game at this point.

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  30. [Note: Jared posted this comment on February 17, 2011.]

    This is my first run through the season, and I must say that immediately understood the fan resentment towards the potentials after this episode. Kennedy’s character seems to be poorly written and confusing… What’s she supposed to be? A street smart spoilt rich girl that likes fighting and weapons? Huh? Just sounds like somebody couldn’t decide on a character. And why did she suddenly go from being so pessimistic last episode to completely having faith in Buffy this time? Funny thing is, after this episode I actually found her to be the least irritating of the lot, with Rona, Eve, and Molly all being very grating.

    I do like the ‘Potential Slayers’ storyline in theory and I feel that it was a reasonable direction to take for the final season, but the execution here was sloppy at best. The girls appear to at least initally be very poorly characterized, which I certainly haven’t come to expect from this show after 6 seasons of largely well written characters. I also had an issue with how ‘lame’ all these girls are, for lack of a better word. When watching them I couldn’t help but imagine a world where any one of them was called instead of Buffy, and it just made the idea of being a ‘chosen one’ seem really watered down when apparently somebody like Rona or Molly are as feasible as anyone else. These girls are a far cry from Buffy, Faith, and even Kendra. I don’t expect them to be world class fighters by any means, Buffy certainly didn’t start out that way, but come on… There’s nothing wrong with the girls being scared or hesitant, but at least make me feel like the potential slayers have… Well.. Potential. I want to add more to this but I’ll save it for the Season 7 review in case there’s improvement in this department later in the season.

    Anyway, that’s just my knee jerk reaction, I suppose. I’ve enjoyed the season prior to this episode, but this one was just a real dud in my mind. I’m hoping the potentials show some improvement within the remainder of the series, or at the very least don’t take too much time away from characters I actually want to see… Oh, and don’t even get me started on that extremely random telepathy scene. πŸ˜‰

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  31. [Note: Jared posted this comment on February 17, 2011.]

    Oh! Something else I forgot to mention… Why does everybody keep acting like Buffy’s death will activate a new slayer? It already did… That’s how Faith was called. The last time Buffy died it didn’t activate a third girl, so you’d think somebody would have picked up on the idea that it’s Faith who has to die to bring about another slayer, not Buffy. Bit of a writer oversight there, I hope somebody eventually picks up on it in the next few episodes or it’ll become a new BtVS pet peeve! Haha.

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

    I’m with you on that one, Jared. Very careless of the writers to make that mistake. On the other hand, the Potentials probably haven’t heard of Faith at this point, so maybe it’s a mute point. They know that once the Slayer dies, someone else is called and are simply unaware that this event has already taken place.

    Agreed on the sloppiness in parts and on the weakness of the actress who plays Eve, but the entire showdown with the Uber-Vamp and its build-up is fantastic and really makes up for any deficiencies inherent in the episode.

    Buffy: “Welcome to Thunderdome”

    Andrew: “Two men enter. One man leaves”.

    Cracks me up every time. Man, I really need to watch the Mad Max movies again soon.

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  33. [Note: missy101 posted this comment on April 29, 2011.]

    one of the girls at the beginning said buffy looked like a big bruis the day after and when i heard that i yelled out DUH! slayers may heal faster than others but they aren’t vampires who heal in like 10 seconds like angel did in one angel episode

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  34. [Note: Keaton posted this comment on September 6, 2011.]

    I wonder why noone mentioned Willows supportive spell when Buffy fought that ubervamp.

    Willow did seem very focused there and I think it is very obvious what she was focusing on. πŸ˜‰

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  35. [Note: carambolage posted this comment on September 8, 2011.]

    Anyone watching How I Met Your Mother? Willow/Alyson Hannigan having a telepathic conversation with the main cast just made me chuckle! XD

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  36. [Note: Zinnia posted this comment on October 2, 2011.]

    ^ “Here endeth the lesson” was repeated three times throughout the series. The Master said it in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, Spike in Fool for Love, and now Buffy.

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  37. [Note: Rob posted this comment on November 12, 2011.]

    Ugh, the Southern accent here is inexcusable, wretched. What a sad stretch of episodes this is. At least we get an occasional funny quip from Andrew.

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

    Baljox’s Eye: “The eye sees not the future, only the truth of the now and before.”

    Anya: “Yes, we’ve all got that. It’s called MEMORY!.”

    -Maybe the Turok-Han doesn’t need an invitation to enter a house because it has no humanity. Vampires are human vessels and it is custom for humans to wait for consent to enter a house. The uber-vamp is not tainted with a human body. My guess anyway.

    -Anya said maybe it would have been better if Buffy had stayed dead. Many people agree with this statement. I don’t.

    I noticed after many watches that Buffy kills the Bringers at the station, even the one running away. Other seasons she would have just let him go but now she is more of a leader and isn’t about mercy as much.

    Like

  39. [Note: keekey posted this comment on March 7, 2012.]

    I just noticed on re-watching that the final reunion scene between Buffy and Spike echoes their final scene together in Intervention. In both scenes, a totally thrashed Spike assumes that Buffy is someone else (the BuffyBot; the First) and realizes it’s really Buffy when she touches him. He even has the same eye swollen shut in both scenes. Overall, not a great episode but that is a nice touch.

    Like

  40. [Note: Rob W. posted this comment on August 1, 2012.]

    I try not to be negative for the most part on this forum, but you’re dead on about Eve being cringe-worthy. Character-wise, sorry, but it’s the low point for the entire series. Couldn’t they have found someone in Hollywood actually from the South? Maybe asked Amy Acker for a contact back home?

    Like

  41. [Note: Will posted this comment on August 6, 2012.]

    I noticed the parallel to Intervention too, Keekey. Thought it was a nice tough.

    What I can’t stand is Eve’s southern accent. Next to the British girl though, she seems fine. No one even speaks like that here..

    Like

  42. [Note: Domitan posted this comment on August 31, 2012.]

    I never got the fervent ‘Dawn-hate’. Sure, she was quite annoying in Season 6, but that was relevant to her character as a younger teen sister dealing with loss and being in the shadow of her older sister. Overall, I felt that Dawn *added* to the show.I’m aware of the high level of dislike for the Potentials, especially Kennedy. Based on this episode, the Potentials are a wash. They didn’t add to the show, and really diminished this show’s aura. A bunch of whining bleating dingbats. Well, except for Kennedy, but that’s not saying much. I so prayed that the Turok-Han would exterminate the lot of them. No such luck. Nonetheless, a worthy and intense battle at the end. The connection between Spike and Buffy at the end was truly a needed reminder of how vital this show is…not enough to salvage the full episode, but enough to put a smile on my face as the closing credits came on.My problem so far with the potentials. As others have pointed out, they lack character development. It’s not just that we don’t know much, if at all, about them. Most of them were pathetic in their cringing negativity. They lacked the untaught spunk that one would expect of someone who could be a Slayer in the future. Take Cordelia. It would make sense if she was designated as a Potential back then. Same goes for Dawn. Here, I could see that for Kennedy, but her character is not yet well-developed for me to clamor for her. It would have been nice if they added short blurbs throughout the first five episodes to give us a glimpse of the surviving potentials…as they did for the doomed ones in Turkey and Germany. That might have helped more people care more about the Potentials.

    Like

  43. [Note: Shask. posted this comment on October 15, 2012.]

    Considering people usually hide even under a spoon to eavesdrop, I think telepathy was a wise move. Besides, it was cool xD

    Like

  44. [Note: Great Whazoo posted this comment on January 17, 2013.]

    My take on Willow’s reluctance with Kennedy is that she’s a minor, so, off limits! Willow doesn’t need a Lolita distracting her.As for Eve’s acting, notice that whenever the first copies a dead person, there’s kind of a dry acting realm they enter into, which is fairly consistent with the different actors portraying the First (except Warren, while being the first portrayal, acted much like the original, evil Warren). Therefore, had the original Eve survived, she would have had her own personality. I found it far more suspicious that with her at the house, training with the other potentials, that no one noticed her coporeal state!

    Like

  45. [Note: Dave posted this comment on February 16, 2013.]

    I really did want to see willow’s and Xanders reaction that bringing Buffy back caused all the problems. Also The telepathy was odd it made it look like Buffy and Xander where talking telepathicly :S

    Like

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

    I loved your review and I totally agree with it. The revelation about Buffy being alive is very exciting and could have led to some very interesting stuff. It could also explain why the First had been able to appear to Angel: Buffy died and the balance – if you can call it balance with only one Slayer against thousands of demons – was disrupted with two slayers living. Anyway, what I mean is that psychology – destroying the opponent with mind twisting – was a very good setup in CWDP and I regret the writers didn’t continue with it: this revelations could have been the icing on the cake.

    The Potentials will become an annoyance, but at this point, I can totally understand them freaking out: they must be between 14 and 20, they’re away from their families/friends, they have no power, are eliminated one by one and there’s not a lot of hope to hang on for.

    This is another step to put Buffy on her path/business only: everyone wrongly believes that, because she’s the slayer, she should know what to do, that she should be all-knowing. Eve/The First has a point: it’s an impossible mission to protect them all. Also, at this point, I find Kennedy to be likable because she can handle herself in a crisis and is very supportive to the group.

    Like

  47. [Note: JEL posted this comment on April 2, 2013.]

    Mark Fields over at Fragments of My Imagination:Showtime has a more favorable take on the Beljoxa’s Eye but you actually have to go to his post on Chosen to find out what it is since he tries to avoid spoilers in the posts.

    Which you may already be aware since I know you were following his posts for a while. I’ve still got 1/2 season to go (skipped ahead to the Chosen post because I got impatient to see what he was hinting at). So far he seems to have a very favorable view of season 7.

    Like

  48. [Note: Henrik posted this comment on July 18, 2013.]

    At this point, I can’t understand why Kennedy is disliked. She is the only Potential who’s not an idiot so far. I guess I find out later…

    Do we like Vi because of Felicia Day, or does she actually do anything later in the season? I mean, I like Felicia, but she hasn’t gotten anything to work with.

    And I can’t understand why some above like Rona. She’s extremely whiny and ungrateful so far.

    Like

  49. [Note: Waverley posted this comment on July 19, 2013.]

    Have to agree. Up until this stage, Kennedy is the only one who keeps trying to jump into the fray to help Buffy. She does become a bit annoying later on but I’ve always thought that was 100% intentional on the part of the writers.

    A classic characterisation technique to elicit sympathy for a character is to put them up against a usurper who tries to butt in on that character’s territory or take their place when they have no right to. And that’s exactly what happens when Kennedy starts thinking she should be the boss instead of Buffy. I’m certain this was a conscious attempt by the writers to keep the viewers on Buffy’s side as she made her dictatorial leadership mistakes and seemed overly harsh at times. That’s why they throw in that stuff about Kennedy having huge houses with wings when she’s first introduced – the viewer is supposed to know she’s spoiled and has a sense of entitlement.

    Unfortunately, the character of Kennedy seems to suffer the same fate as Riley in that the were both a foil for Buffy and did their jobs perfectly, but they ended up getting a lot of crit for it.

    Like

  50. [Note: T.G. posted this comment on March 2, 2014.]

    Eve has an extremely bad southern accent. I think that might be her biggest acting flaw, but her facial movements are alittle irritating too.
    Anyway, I agree with pretty much everything. This whole episode was a poorly written waste. (Except for the neat ubervamp fight)

    Like

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

    I agree to almost everything here. Your review was spot-on as always, Mike!
    I seriously dislike this new Potential Rhona or Rona (however its spelt) other than whining, complaining and being absolutely useless and humorless, her character really is of no use. I also hate the fact that most of this episode is wasted on the stupid Potentials. I may not hate them as that’s a very strong word to use, but I truly dislike them, and I can see why the Buffy fandom would be upset with them, in fact when Dawn says “I don’t see how more scared Slayer wannabes translates as help” she’s totally speaking for the fandom here and I completely agree, they’re a waste of space and when Buffy tells Andrew that she doesn’t have time to babysit him I just think that they’re doing the same with the Potentials. Babysitting them and sheltering them is just distracting the Scoobies since they’ve got their hands full in between preparing and trying to console these Potentials.
    And do they REALLY think they can keep each of these girls couped up in Buffy’s house? There’s gonna be so many more, what do they plan to do about them? It just makes no sense to me.

    Anyway, thankfully the ending of the episode saved it from being on my bad list, I really like the way Buffy kicks the ubervamp’s ass and tells the Potentials that this was the first lesson. It was all very… Buffy. If you know what I mean. And I also agree to the whole Spike thing, why on earth does The First care about some random vampire? I mean I understand why it wanted Spike earlier with the whole trigger thing going on, but why now, that it knows Spike isn’t going to budge? Why does it keep targetting him and treating him so specially? It should have just killed him off right? Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Spike, I just think that this The First being obsessed with Spike thing didn’t make any sense to me. Also, I’m a little confused. The Dream-buffy or The First-Buffy, touches Spike, and this happened in Lessons (1×01) too when The First-Drusilla touched him, how is The First touching him when it’s clearly stated that the First can’t manifest physical form or touch anyone or anything?
    Another question is that the First can only take a dead person’s form, right? So it took Buffy,Spike and Drusilla’s forms, and they’re not dead… Although, granted, they have been dead, (Spike and Drusilla being vamps and Buffy dying twice)so does that mean the form it takes doesn’t really have to be dead in technical terms, if you know what I mean ?

    Anyway, I really liked the last part of the episode, being the Spuffy fan I am, I loved the acting and the chemistry between the two, especially Spike’s reaction when he finds out that Buffy really did come through for him, his expression is just… amazing, really. I love how these two always have this spark, and this sizzling connection that leaves me wanting more. And then how Buffy let him lean on her as she walked him out of there. Great moment!
    Unfortunately, the earlier half of the episode couldn’t live up to this.
    However can anyone else say THANK GOD FOR ANDREW? He’s hilarious and almost, ALMOST makes up for the crappy potential storyline.

    Like

  52. [Note: Eloisa posted this comment on August 7, 2014.]

    I probably would have given this episode a D, it is just dreadful. The only things that keep it somewhat afloat are the Buffy/Spike scene at the and (which was simple but beautiful)and Anya’s comment (as MissKittyFantastico said) “It’s called MEMORY!!” – hilarious. Apart from that its a bore of whiny potentials and useless Spike scenes throughout the middle to take up screen time that could have been better spent developing the characters, not to mention the cringe-worthy telepathy scene and ‘secret plot’ between Buffy, Willow and Xander.

    Like

  53. [Note: Pamela posted this comment on September 27, 2014.]

    Hey Mike. I have my granddaughter watching the show now and she has turned all her friends on to Buffy so you may have a whole new set of young fans out there.

    Like

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

    I just loved this episod. It was funny, entertaining… and now that I understand the story, I enjoy it a lot more. The Firt is a thrilling ennemy, in my opinion.
    It’s much more interesting than the three idiots from season 3.
    If I hadn’t read you, I wouldn’t he thought about the telepathy being ridiculous. The final fight is brilliant. Anya and Andrew are hilarious in this episod. Of course, I don’t really care about the Potentials, but they don’t worship her and I find it interesting.
    So, as you can imagine, I wouldn’t have given this episode a C-. Something like A-. You can hate me now xD

    Like

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

    *The FirSt
    *The three idiots from season 6, of course, sorry.
    Oh, and Dawn was funny with Andrew, but that’s all. She’s really useless this season.

    Like

  56. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 25, 2015.]

    Can’t say I prefer this “The First” incarnation vs. the more cerebral and psychological version. It’s strength is in psychological torture, something I personally think would have made for better exploration of our characters. Instead, it opts to enact a completely generic world domination scheme. The First was highly misused in my opinion.

    Also, I liked the Trio. Not every villain has to be uber powerful. The flawed villains have always been more interesting to me then generic, more powerful then our hero types. They tend to be better developed, and the Trio felt more like characters then just villains.

    Also, final fight wasn’t all that entertaining to me. I guess I’ve been spoiled with some spectacular choreography during my younger years when cool battles were enough to keep me engaged. I’ll mention Dragonball Z as far as great fights since Andrew does coming up shortly (always makes me laugh that the writers not only knew about it, but even reference a lesser character).

    Like

  57. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 7, 2015.]

    Yah it’s really damn stupid that the fact that Buffy was resurrected caused all this craziness to happen was never mentioned again after this episode. It didn’t even occur to me that it wasn’t mentioned again until after going over the material again through reading. It felt like they pulled a Last of the Time Lords here where a big friggin thing is revealed and it seems like it’s going to be there for some kind of message or story but instead it only exists to justify the plot that going on. Did they not want Buffy to feel bad she got resurrected after she went through a whole season getting passed it? Either way a missed opportunity. Bad writers, no biscuit.

    Like

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

    Series Spoilers:
    So The First could act because Buffy lives again. Buffy died and returned 3 times so which resurrection started the process: ‘Prophecy Girl’, ‘Bargaining Pt 1’ or ‘Villains’? Perhaps the first return as The First was in Season 3.

    The Eye is pretty silly on repeat views. It probably would have been better not seeing the conversation.

    The final fight still holds up… even though there is no way she would beat the thing after it survived being crushed by metal poles.

    Like

  59. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 4, 2016.]

    Buffy didn’t die in Villains so that doesn’t count. Also it’s pretty clear that it’s her Season 6 resurrection that caused this since The First wasn’t doing a whole lot in the first 5 seasons and Anya talks about her involvement in bringing Buffy back so it had to be that resurrection.

    Like

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

    Buffy did die in ‘Villains’. At the hospital the heart monitor flat lined until Willow intervened and saved her. If the death in ‘Prophecy Girl’ is counted then the ‘Villains’ one has to also as they both were heart stoppages without brain death.

    On the other thing it seems silly that The First only used Buffy’s longest death to jump start its campaign. It is never explained why that resurrection was any better than her first resurrection. There has been two Slayers since season 2 so it is confusing. In the writer’s defence, a lot of the final season is confusing.

    Like

  61. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 4, 2016.]

    You are actually right about the flatlining. Maybe it’s because Xander says she was GOING to die and that no one really talks about it afterward that makes it seem like it doesn’t count.

    Either way the episode is definitely referring to her Bargaining resurrection as the one that has caused all this stuff probably cause it involved a lot of dark magics. It’s also possible that because this resurrection didn’t involve another Slayer coming into being (or that it wasn’t the newest Slayer that was resurrected) that that is what caused the glitch in the system.

    Like

  62. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    Also one thing that’s worth mentioning is how weird it is that the ladies keep finding time to dye their hair and stuff when their apparently supposed to be in a very serious crisis. Now sometimes these things can’t be avoided (particularly between seasons ex. Beverly Crusher’s hair-do change in Best of Both Worlds) but this kind of thing doesn’t really add credibility to the situation.

    Like

  63. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    I guess you have a point in that it’s the Potentials that are working their asses off daily while the rest of the crew will do the occasional mission.

    Like

  64. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    This just strikes me as a very frivolous criticism is all, in the same way that “I didn’t like S7 because SMG looks too emaciated for my tastes” is a stupid and shallow criticism.

    Like

  65. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    I’d say it was a little more relevant since we’re supposed to believe that this is the biggest doom ever, and are constantly reminded of that so the idea that they also have time to dye hair kind of takes aways from the menace and dread.

    Like

  66. [Note: Samm posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    But it doesn’t mean the world has to stop, i am honestly curious if you know how little effort dying your hair takes. As Boscalyn said, most of it is just waiting for your hair to dry.

    Like

  67. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    I think you’re greatly overrating the extent to which we are supposed to believe in the gloom and doom aspect of this show.

    Like

  68. [Note: J.C. posted this comment on January 19, 2016.]

    I think all of the Potentials should’ve had claws for hands, because clearly there was no time for mani/pedis, either. πŸ˜‰

    Like

  69. [Note: Revenge Demon posted this comment on September 18, 2016.]

    I dont get the criticism for the telepathy and the portal opening…

    I also thing u are too mean to this episode.. it no way deserves a C- like wtf…

    the actress playing the blond potential was indeed bad tho… and Anya’s fear for the portal was unjustified in the end… But everything else was fine with the last fight being great! so yeah i dont get how a pretty much solid episode gets a c minus…

    Like

  70. [Note: Samm posted this comment on September 18, 2016.]

    The telepathy, when has Buffy ever been able to do that, it was pointless but a minor complaint. The issue with this episode is literally nothing happens, that final sequence could have happened with about 2 minutes of the entire episode prior to it and it’d have worked just as well.

    The episode was just incredibly shallow, and Eve.

    Like

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