Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Season Seven Showdown - The Reckoning Part II

OK, Supernatural starts Wednesday and we're right in the middle of in the Lightning Round in this Season Seven Showdown - comparing the sordid seventh seasons of Buffy and Supernatch, of course. Let's get right to it!

Supernatural Episode #16 - "Out With the Old"
The Lightning Round Recap:
Sammy's not sleeping, Frank Deveraux is cranky and ballerinas are dancing their feet off. So our boys set off to Portland, Oregon in a car that is NOT baby. There, they find out that the ballet slippers have the hoodoo whammy on them and the wacky music of cursed objects begins! (Hilarious side-note, Dean is enthralled by the slippers as he has a hidden desire to dance.) So we end up at "Out With The Old", an antique store that is closing and selling off all the inventory, some of which is now causing gory deaths all over town. See a hunter woman owned the store and kept the questionable ballet slippers, tea kettle, gramophone and porn safe in locked curse-boxes for many years, but right after being forced to sell the shoppe to an annoying realtor named Joyce, the owner is killed and left no further instruction to her son about the deadly objects in question.

It turns out that bitchy realtor Joyce is actually an employee of Dick friggin' Roman and has been aggressively buying several properties in Portland. The Leviathan become privy to Sam and Dean's presence and set up a trap...but in a backstabbing twist, Joyce's assistant George turns on the bitch and he aids the boys in killing her. During all this, we learn that the Portland real estate is actually a front for a Leviathan research facility to cure human cancer for some unknown reason. We also learn that the only real way to kill a Leviathan is for them to be eaten.  In the end, the boys find Frank's trailer ransacked and Frank nowhere to be found. Aww. First Bobby and now Frank. He was growing in me :(


Buffy Episode #16 - "Story Teller"
The Lightning Round Recap:
This episode starts off in a Geeky Masterpiece Theatre-esque opening with Andrew as host presenting his documentary "Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyres." See while he's been held "guestage" in the Summers home, he got bored and annoyingly recorded the current apocalyptic events…even though the opening of the Hellmouth this time was pretty much all his fault. There are many lovable and hilarious fantasy scenes, though…best one probably being the breakfast introduction scene, what with the wind machine and slo-mo and all. But that scene is interrupted by another one of Buffy's long, boring motivating speeches (Andrew's words but come on, oh-so true by this point.) There is also a fantastic scene of Spike doing his best impersonation of Spike. It's great.

During all this, the Hellmouth is really acting up. Since Andrew himself is linked to the Seal of Danthalzar in the high school's basement, he must face the music before it opens and tears apart Sunnydale. Willow uses a magic crystal to make Andrew remember all he knows even without a "refreshing Zima." Then Buffy hauls Andrew to Sunnydale High where she threatens to use the mystical knife he killed Jonathan with to gut him, but he painfully breaks down in tears at the revelation that he consciously killed Jonathan all on his own. His tears close the seal in place of his blood. Well played. Oh and Xander and Anya hook up and learn their relationship is really over.

Final Ruling: 
Well, on Supernatch, the "Dick" jokes are getting old and the last cursed objects ep "Bad Day at Black Rock" was really much better. On the other side, the only way "Storyteller" fails is that it's similar to "The Zeppo" in that the apocalypse is almost silly in it's high-drama, but that ep was an awesome parody and this was for real. I sort of blame that on the fact that it's Season Seven. Still it's rock-solid character-development and a shining light in an otherwise dreary season. Buffy takes this one!


Supernatural Episode #17 - "The Born Again Identity"
The Lightning Round Recap:
Sammy's "Lucifer Insomnia" finally causes a car accident which lands him both in a mental ward and in a B-plot of helping a fellow patient kill a ghost. But more importantly, the A-Plot: The Sam situation causes Dean to freak out himself. He has no luck getting help from fellow Hunters about how to cure Sam, but he does get a little assist from the other side. Bobby's diary is mystically thrown to the floor and a card falls out of it. This leads Dean to the house of a faith healer named Emanuel. Unfortunately demons are also after Emanuel but fortunately Emanuel is really the beloved, much-lamented and sorely missed Castiel. Where ya been buddy!? He wouldn't know because he has amnesia. Whomp, whommmppp.

Cas introduces his wife to Dean (and Dean definitely looks a little crushed, not gonna lie) and explains he can use his healing ability to help Sam, so they go on a little road trip. Since Crowley has cancelled the "hands-off memo" the demons are back on the Winchester's asses, so Dean recruits Meg to lend a protective hand. I miss the original Meg. When they reach the mental hospital Castiel's memories come rushing back in a fabulous little montage while he smites every demon in the parking lot. Cas nearly bails out of guilt, but Dean procures his iconic trench coat from the trunk and helps push him in the right direction.

Inside the hospital, Cas find Sam just in time before a demonic electroshock therapy session fries his brain, but sadly he can't heal Sam. So, he sacrifices himself by transferring Sam's madness to his own mind and permanently checks in at the hospital with Meg by his side.


Buffy Episode #17 - "Lies My Parents Told Me"
The Lightning Round Recap:
This episode starts most woefully, with a re-cast Nikki Wood fighting Spike in 1977 NYC. The scene parallels a present day fight Robin Wood is having alongside both Buffy and Spike. He's just waiting for his moment to kill Spike, you see. The next morning at school, a concerned Giles returns from his trip with a magical stone that might be able to deactivate Spike's musical trigger. The stone turns into a worm and enters Spike's brain via his eyeball, which causes him to revisit his past. There we find that Spike and Lily Van Der Woodsen's share a mother! And it makes the family dynamic on Gossip Girl even more confusing than it already is.

In the past we learn that the trigger song is "Early One Morning" - a song Spike's mother would sing to him. And Drusilla! Oh it's the last time we ever get to see Dru in all her fabulousness. We also get to witness Spike's worst childhood traumas: his siring of his mum, her evil, incestuous advances and her strong need to finally be rid of him. In the end, he has to kill her and it's quite sad.

Meanwhile, in the present, Buffy's acting quite rash and protecting Spike...going so far as unchaining him even though he is still triggered and in all reality, should've been killed years before he got his soul. Giles learns the truth about who Wood is they team up behind Buffy's back in a plot to kill Spike. But it fails and Spike and Buffy both balk that Wood is a dead man if he ever tries it again. Really, everyone's being all fucked up. The most frustrating part, however, is the end. When Buffy says the mission is what matters, but her actions shows the opposite as she closes the door in the Giles' face. I'm still not sure she was right to this day and we never even get to see them make up after this.

Final Ruling: 
"Lies My Parents Told Me" is fandom-polarizing. If you're in love with Spike you may love this good-quality episode. I think Spike is a deeply layered, fantastic character and clearly very different from every other vampire in the series, but that can't cure this ep. In a way, it's quite simply THE low point in the series. Not in a frivolous "Beer Bad" way, in a "changing characters forever" way. After this, it's shocking that Spike continues to wears her Nikki's coat as a sort of trophy to this day. I really wish they would've played it different. Now "The Born Again Identity" is an A+ Supernatural episode, but I wish Cas wouldn't be immediately off the grid again. It furthers the plot but then just stalls it. Even so, I really missed Cas and thought his sacrifice was refreshing in the face of Spike's actions. it's going to Supernatural.


Supernatural Episode #18 - "Party On, Garth"

The Lightning Round Recap:
"Party on, Garth" When a drunken teen is murdered in the woods in Kansas, apparently by a ghost named Jenny Greentree, everyone's favorite uber-skinny hunter Garth Fitzgerald IV arrives to burn the bones quite nicely, but when the teen's brother is also murdered the next day, he calls Dean for the assist. Dean and Garth investigate the case, and find out the father of the dead co-owns a brewery douchily named: Thighslapper Ale, which has some behind-the-scenes corporate shenanigans going on. Seems one of the partners had been forced out of the company for not wanting to sell out, resulting in his suicide. But enforce he offed himself, he sent a box of Sake and intentionally released a Japanese Alcohol Spirit called a Shojo you can only see when you're drunk to kill all the other partners' children. I mean really? Japanese Alcohol Spirit? Whatever.

Meanwhile, Garth is on to Bobby's ghost. Dean and Sam are in denial, but when the blessed samurai sword needed to kill the Shojo during the big fight just magically glides into Dean's hand, he becomes suspicious once again. In the end, we are shown Ghost Bobby's presence through the flask, confirming what we've been suspecting for a while...that they killed Bobby and kept him off the show for half a season, just to bring him back. Just like they did with Cas. Ugh.


Buffy Episode #18 - "Dirty Girls"
So in the middle of "Lies My Parents Told Me" Willow got a phone call from Fred in LA. "Orpheus" happened, which we've discussed endlessly here at Buffyfest as being both a stellar Angel episode and one filled with plot-holes and fail. One thing is for sure, however: Faith kicked ass during her arc in Angel and now she's here in Sunnydale, ready for the big fight. Anyway, she and Willow come upon a Potential Slayer in the road that was just knifed by a Nathan Fillion shaped Priest named Caleb. Here we go.

As soon as Buffy sees Faith she punches her right in the face. And maybe she deserves that after the events of "Five by Five/Sanctuary" but I do wish this show would've reflected Faith's atonement a bit better. People don't really change much in this world, but the loose cannon known as Faith the Vampire Slayer actually did…but you'd never really know it if you only watched Buffy. It's a shame. Then there's the part where Andrew tells the story of Faith killing a Vulcan. More shame. Anyway, after learning of Caleb's arrival in town and his message "I have something of yours", Buffy stands up to Giles and makes it clear that she's going for Caleb without much of a plan. What results is a shitshow. Two Potentials die, Buffy, Spike and Faith are easily taken and ohhhh the worst part is Xander. Xander and his eye.

Final Ruling: 
Like the boys, Garth has really grown on me and he actually saved this Supernatural episode for me. Now "Dirty Girls" is in my memory bank as being a poor episode. But seeing it again and going up against "Japanese Booze Monsters" it's the clear winner...a real plot advancement and a dose of Fillion, which is what's needed so late in a season. Buffy wins.

Season tally so far:

Got a problem with this score so far? Let me quote Dean's alliterative and to-the-point outgoing message, "Leave your name, number and nightmare at the tone." Or rather sound off in the comments.

1 comment:

Nick Murphy said...

I really like the idea of comparing the 2 shows 7th seasons! Of course, I love Buffy, but I absolutely love Supernatural even more. I am so excited about season 8 starting that I finally got my coworkers at DISH to get into it, so that I had someone to talk to about the show. I am going to record every episode this season with my Hopper, so that I can re-watch them all after it airs, and not make a mistake like this year and wait for the DVD release. That way, I might be able to do something similar with all kinds of episodes from previous seasons of Buffy!