Friday, March 11, 2011

Buffy Blog: Musings on Season Two

There are a number of things I really like about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love its genre blending, its, in the trendy academic terminology of today, genre hybridity. I love that it can and often does go from comedy, to drama, to tragedy. I love its wit, its popular and not so popular references, its music, and its cinematography. I love its parodies and its satires. I love that it can go from fantasy to near realism all in a single bound. I simply love Buffy.

Season two, thanks to “Surprise”/”Innocence”, “Passions”, “I Only Have Eyes for You”, and “Becoming”, has been an emotionally intense rollar coaster ride on occasion. Of course, this emotional intensity and this emotional realism didn’t come out of nowhere. Season one’s “Welcome to the Hellmouth”/”The Harvest” with Buffy’s great speech about the melancholy life of a Slayer, “Nightmare”, with its emotionally wrenching scene where Buffy’s father tells her he is disappointed by her and that she was responsible for the breakup of his and Joyce’s marriage, and “Prophecy Girl” with its intense scene where Buffy tells Giles she is no longer a working Slayer, foreshadow the emotional intensity that is to come in season two and beyond.

I don’t know whether Whedon and Company were directly influenced by the emotional intensity and existentialism of Ingmar Bergman films or the emotional intensity, existentialism, complex moral quandaries, and dark humour of the Dekalog of Krzysztof Kieslowski. Regardless of whether he and they were or were not influenced by Bergman (there is a The Seventh Seal shot in one Buffy episode) and Kieslowski isn’t necessarily that important, however. I sense a kinship between them. Whedon, Bergman, and Kieslowski, in my opinion, share a cultural attribute of the post-World War II West, humanist existentialism with its displacement of traditional moral verities and its exploration of complex relationships, familial and friendly.

Notes and Questions:
Faith’s turn to the darkside in season three parallels Angel’s turn to the darkside in season two.

It is in “Becoming” that we see Dark Willow for the first time in Buffy when she successfully performs the ritual of re-ensoulment. Note how her eyes turn black and she is filled with energy.

Does Spike’s turn to Buffy’s side foreshadow the transition he makes from the dark side to the good side in later seasons of Buffy and in Angel?

Was Whistler sent to make Angel realise his destiny by the “powers that be”? If “Angel” is the first episode of Angel is “Becoming” the second?

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