Friday, July 1, 2011

Buffy Blog: "Enemies"

“Enemies” written by Doug Petrie and directed by David Grossman, really kicks a number of season three arcs into gear. And it continues to explore several of the arcs that have been at play in Buffy since season one and season two.

At the heart of “Enemies” are the Faith, Faith/Mayor, Faith/Buffy, Faith/Angel, and Angel and Buffy arcs. Faith continues to play the Scooby but also continues to covertly work for the mayor. When a demon who doesn’t, says Buffy, fall into “deadly threat to humanity category” (note how Buffy continues to add moral complexity to the category of “demon” here) offers to sell the Slayers the “Books of Ascension” while they are on patrol in the teaser together Faith later informs the mayor of the threat, kills the demon at Wilkins’s insistence, and gives the “Books of Ascension” to the Mayor. Both Faith and the mayor put a plan to turn Angel into Angelus and bring him over to their dark side (shades of season two) in action in act two. Wilkins’ seems interested in his services, particularly his potential for killing Buffy. Faith seems interested in his body: she appears interested in “get in, get out” sex with Angel. In act three it appears that they have succeeded as Angel after trying to kill the now “impervious” mayor agrees to “torture, maim, and kill” our Buffy.

The second coming of Angelus, however, turns out to be a ruse. The shaman who the mayor hires to turn Angel into Angelus once again turns out to owe Giles a favour, “I introduced him to his wife”, Giles tells the Scoobies, and informs Giles off camera of the mayors plans. So the Scoobies decide to use this bit of information to their advantage. Angel, playing the role of Angelus, plays along with Faith and the mayor chaining Buffy to the wall of the mansion where both Angel and Faith threaten to torture and maim the Buffster in order to gain information from Faith about the mayor, the mayor’s plans, and the “Ascension”. Through their ruse they discover that Faith is not working for the mayor and that the Ascension is set to occur on “graduation day”. The Scoobies and we viewers now know, at least in general terms, where season three is heading.

But Buffy’s and Angel’s ruse has an unintended consequence (Buffy tragedy). Angel playing Angelus reminds Buff of the psychological torture he submitted her to and the violence he perpetrated in season two. As a result Buffy tells Angel she needs a “bit of a break” from him in act four of “Enemies”. So an episode that began with yet another Buffy and Angel kiss and high hopes that their relationship might be revised (though without the sex) ends with yet another roadblock placed in the way of a Buffy/Angel romance and raises questions for Buffy and us viewers about where the Buffy and Angel romance is going.

As I mentioned earlier, a number of things are going on with character arcs in “Enemies”, particularly as they relate to the mayor as big bad arc of season three. Faith and Buffy, of course, are the “Enemies” of the title as Faith’s ties to Wilkins become clear to the Scoobies in the episode. Cordelia asks Wesley for help with her English paper, he’s English, she notes, so the Cordy/Wes fascination continues. The mayor’s fatherly concern for Faith continues to grow. He gives her a glass of milk for healthy teeth and bones and tells Angelus to have her “home by eleven”. The mayor, we learn, in “Enemies”, thanks to Oz and the archives at the Sunnydale Hall of Records, is over a hundred years old and founded Sunnydale so that demons can feed on humans. He will be among the demons feeding off humans after his ascension. Faith, we learn, is jealous of Buffy, jealous that Buffy has a mom, jealous that Buffy has Scooby friends, jealous that Buffy has the Watcher, and jealous that everyone talks about Buffy and not her.

So dear unreaders we are off on our journey to season three’s end…

Angel tells Faith that he didn’t have a choice when he did the evil that Angelus did, but that she does.

Angel playing the role of Angelus, acting, he claims that is superior to Faith’s playing the good Scooby all the while working for the mayor, refers back to the scene in season two’s “Surprise”/”Innocence” when he compares his taste for the Slayer as similar to his taste for cigarettes. He likes them both. This reference to cigarettes, of course, refers back to Angelus’s expiration of cigarette smoke after he bites the “woman of ill if not professional” repute in “Innocence” exhaling, after he does, the cigarette smoke she has just inhaled.

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