Friday, October 31, 2014

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season Two)

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the second season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If you have not seen the second season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in its entirety, then continue at your own peril. For a spoiler-free introduction to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, click here.

Season two introduces Spike (James Marsters) - who will become a recurring character through to the end of the series - and his partner Drusilla (Juliet Landau), both vampires. They make a great pair: Spike, with his sadistic British rebel charm (and a look inspired by Billy Idol); and Drusilla, with her willowy voice and prophetic visions. They are the season's Big Bad, although they'll have to share that title with their old friend Angel (David Boreanaz) in the second half.

Season two explores Angel's situation - how he was one of the cruelest vampires in history, going by the name Angelus; how he was cursed by gypsys to have his soul returned to him; and the self-loathing caused by his recovered conscience. I know some people that don't like the Angel character that much, but I've loved him from the start. I guess I see something inspiring in his quest for penitence, trying to make up for the unforgivable crimes he's committed. That theme plays a central role in the coming Angel spinoff (more on that later).

What we also learn about Angel is that part of the gypsy's curse dictates that if he ever achieves a moment of pure bliss (interpreted as sex with a woman he loves), he'll lose that soul again (because god forbid - or rather, the gypsys forbid - Angel should ever be happy, after all the suffering he's caused). Unfortunately for the good guys, Angel has finally found a soulmate in Buffy, and they're getting pretty hot and heavy.

The episode titled Passion, after Angel flips, was one of the first truly memorable and standout episodes in the series. Narrated in voice-over by Angel, it involves the first death (cold-blooded murder, really) in the series of a major sympathetic protagonist. I really like Angel - or, rather, Angelus - as a villain. He's not just concerned with violence and physical torture, but in really making his victims suffer, emotionally. And he enjoys it so much!

Another landmark in this season is the introduction of the character Oz (Seth Green), who quickly becomes a werewolf (albeit a reluctant and sympathetic one), and gradually begins a really tight relationship with Willow. To be honest, I didn't like Oz at first. You'd think I'd relate to him, because he's so taciturn, but I just found it annoying to begin with. However, over time, I really got used to his succinct quips, and he really grew on me.

This season also introduces Ethan Rayne (Robin Sachs), a former friend of Rupert Giles', who provides insight into the latter's past. And, in the Halloween episode we learn that, contrary to popular belief, in the Buffyverse, creatures of the night actually consider it fairly tacky to get up to mischief on the night of Halloween. Although that won't stop the series from doing a few rather fun Halloween episodes during its run (this one involving people turning into the costumes they're wearing).

Continue to season three!

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