Mark Re-Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: Surprise / Innocence

Oh, let us wallow in sadness and despair, y’all. It’s time for me to re-watch two of the most fucked up episodes from the early seasons of Buffy.

Okay, videos first!



Second, THERE IS SO MUCH FORESHADOWING HERE. Some of it is intentional, and some of it just happens to work really well in hindsight. Jenny Calendar’s claim that PEOPLE ARE GONNA DIE hurts so much because YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’VE JUST DONE YOU JUST CURSED YOURSELF. Buffy’s statement that Angel just needs to give her time to kill him sweet baby jesus that is too much.

For me, though, these two episodes are a turning point in my experience with Buffy. While “Prophecy Girl” certainly featured the first instance of me realizing that Joss Whedon was going to do whatever the hell he wanted to do, I don’t think I came to understand the true capacity for brutal, revealing storytelling that this show had until this arc right here. Angelus is horrifying. David Boreanaz is incredible at playing this character, but I can’t forget just how scary he is when he portrays this side of Angel. (And oh god, he is somehow even more disturbing during season four of Angel, HELP.)

Truthfully, this two-part is so upsetting because you have to watch Buffy build up to such an important part of her life only to be completely torn apart. AND SO MUCH WORSE SHIT WILL HAPPEN TO HER IN THE COMING SEASONS, GOOD GOD. But I don’t want to ignore just how awful it is that Buffy’s fears about sex come true in an even worse way than she anticipated. I think I actually covered a lot of why this episode disturbs me. Like, for once, I think I nailed this one on the head! Obviously, I missed a lot of stuff, especially things that hinted towards the future. However, I did get that this show was moving in a new direction, that I was beginning to see just what this show was capable of doing.

We’ve got the beginnings of Oz/Willow in “Surprise,” and lord, they’re so adorable. Looking back, I think the way in which Oz left Sunnydale was kind of rushed, but I’m ultimately not going to complain because Tara. But by and large, Oz and Willow had a pretty healthy relationship, especially by Buffy standards. Contrast that with Cordelia and Xander, who begin to move in a more serious direction in “Innocence,” though it’s one marred by the feelings Xander and Willow still foster for one another.

I’m also kind of heartbroken every time Joyce is on the screen. I love her so much, and knowing how she leaves the show destroys me. You can see how much she’s trying to be a good single mother in these first three seasons. I’d forgotten that there was once a time when Joyce didn’t know Buffy was the Slayer. Here, Buffy is still forced to maintain a secret life. And this is actually relative to my recent re-watch of “Band Candy,” since Buffy still has to do this even when Joyce knows what role her daughter must play in the world. It’s a fascinating way for the show to address the idea of a teenage rebellion, especially since so many of us have had to deal with sneaking around behind our parents’ backs. In this show, often times Buffy has a legitimate reason for doing this, and I think it’s neat that this is twisted around like this.

Oh god, I will continue to say that everyone here is a BABY and are so young and it kills me to know how much pain and torment is ahead. Can’t I just steal them away during this season and keep them safe from Joss Whedon? I’m pretty sure they’d appreciate it.

Coming up next week: “New Moon Rising” and the UNAIRED PILOT. OH MY GOD.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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