Once More, With Feeling
by Marcus Ferrell of
Whedon has struck gold again in the best and most
original episode since last season's "Hush"; one would
almost think this was a season premiere or cliffhanger
because of what ensues.
A new demon is in town and he turns the people of
Sunnydale into the '90s experiment Cop Rock; songs are
to be sung and the people of Sunnydale will sing them.
The episode begins with a new intro, kind of a neo-40s
musical intro, displaying all of our players. Then,
after the fade in, Buffy is on patrol in the graveyard
and as the vamps attack, she breaks into song about
her life. As Buffy dance-fights, the vampires join in
a chorus line, and then she frees a Fabio-wannabe, who
she ignores. The demon is forcing everyone in
Sunnydale to reveal their secrets through song. The
lyrics continue to spread to everyone else. Anya and
Xander sing an amusing semi-love song, semi-argument.
In a later scene, when Buffy visits Spike's tomb,
Spike breaks into song and tells Buffy what he had
been meaning to all along: get out and stay out until
you admit your true feelings. Later, Tara and Giles
break into a wonderful duet about how they must move
on and let their respective loves (Buffy and Willow)
grow up. There are many more songs than this, but
those three, plus the finale, are the best of the
The real content provided in the episode is the amount
of plot events that happen during this episode. One,
we find out that Dawn habitually steals things. One-A,
we find out what that coin is that Dawn stole: it was
a magical coin that released the music demon. Two,
Tara finds out, through Dawn, that her and Willow had
an argument (last episode) and she deduces from there
that Willow was using magic on her. Three, Giles
finally realizes that he must leave. Four, Tara
realizes that perhaps she must leave as well to let
Willow realize what she has lost. Five, Buffy lets the
Scoobies know that they pulled her out of heaven. Six,
and perhaps the biggest event of them all,
Buffy...ahem, warms up to Spike with a big kiss in the
finale. The kiss came off as natural and unhokey, at
least as natural as breaking into song can be.
The episode was perhaps the best this show has ever
seen, and it deserves an Emmy for creativity. Is a
musical original? Obviously not, except that it's in
television and not the theater. I can find no faults
with the plot either - the music-demon is a convenient
plot device, but certainly entertaining. He provides a
way for the characters to air their grievances with
each other and blatantly reveal the theme of the
season: the Scoobs have got to grow up. They have
relied on innocence and Giles too much. Nothing was
contrived, and some scenes were truly heart-wrenching.
This season, I would say, has been somewhat lackluster
in humor and high in creativity. With Whedon's hand
back in the writing pot, we can certainly see the
changes. Co-producer and writer Marti Noxon is good
with dark plot devices, but I believe she leaves a bit
to be desired with the laughter. I think she will find
her stride, however, as the season progresses and it
could be one of the best seasons ever. For future
reference, the episode was 8 minutes longer than
usual; when the reruns occur, it will be chopped.
Hopefully you video taped this one, and here's hoping
for a season 6 DVD soon.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer airs Tuesdays at 8 PM/7C on
Next week: Giles is prepared to take off to merry ol'
England, but are he and Anya in love?
- Marcus Ferrell
Prime Buffy Sites:
- Official Buffy Site
- Official Danny Strong (Jonathan) Website