Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Season Seven Showdown: Episode 1 - "Meet the New Boss" vs. "Lessons"

So we are doing this new blog series comparing and contrasting Buffy's Season 7 with a show that seems to have gone down a very similar path: Supernatural and it's own current Season 7. Today we're starting at the top by comparing and contrasting the season premieres. Let's get to it!

Supernatural Episode #1 - "Meet the New Boss"
Episode Synopsis - Cas is riding the crazy train and by the time he finds his yellow crayon, it's too late. Also, the wall that Death put in Sam's head last season has crashed down and no one will help him put up some drywall. Geez, where's Xander when you need him?

The Deets:
This episode begins precisely where last season ends, with Castiel-God demanding worship from The Hotness + Bobby. I'm a big time sucker for an over-the-summer cliffhanger and pick-up so I'm already swooning. Don't worry about the boys, Cas decides to leave them alone and go on a killing spree of some Tea Party members, then tries to make a deal with Badger. While that's going on, Bobby tries to look for a way to stop him, Sammy's in a coma because of this continuing pesky Hell Wall business and Dean drinks a lot. The Impala's still all bashed up too.

A little later, a random, tied up, home dwelling couple have to witness all their shit being destroyed and a demonic ritual spell, courtesy of Badger. See, he passed them a note so they can bind up Death and they needed the couple's Lightning Crystal to do so. It's a little cooler than it sounds. And speaking of, yay, it's Death!! Love him. Unfortunately Death isn't as happy to see me, but after a pissing match with Castiel, he decides he doesn't like that arrogant kid and will assist The Hotness in their mission. The plan is for Death to create another eclipse to put The Souls that are currently power-upping Cas back in their rightful place in Purgatory. Death leaves, but not before giving a final warning to never bind him again or their pretty asses will be sorry. Oh, and there were pickle chips.

In the end, The Almighty Cas learns that killing is bad! He also discovers the pesky Leviathans living inside his body. Yep, these older than dirt evil guys hitched a ride with the souls when Cas powered up in the first place. So during the magic eclipse he gets rid of the souls, but unfortunately the Leviathans hold on during the process and now Cas is all "Here's Johnny!" I doubt we're up to Big Bad territory so early in the season, but we'll see.

At this same moment, Lucifer gets all up in Sam's head...teasing that the hallucinations he's been experiencing all episode long might actually be the work of a "Normal Again" type-situation - meaning he never left the basement of Sunnydale High, er, I mean mental hospital, er, Hell. It's the CAGE in HELL. Sorry, I'm already getting confused.

Buffy Episode #1 - "Lessons"
We start off with the killing of a potential slayer in Istanbul, quickly followed by Buffy training Dawn in the graveyard, driving home the season's ultimate point: that it's all about Power with these evil jerks. The thing the sisters are most worried about, however, is Dawn's first day at the brand, spanking new Sunnydale high. When they arrive the next day, they meet the new Principal, Robin Wood. Then Buffy gets freaked when she sees some evil in the restroom mirror and begins to doubt what Xander told her at breakfast: that there isn't any shady mystical spots on the new school's property. In other words, there is a SERIOUS shady mystical spot on the property, but we don't actually find that out until much later in the season. What is happening right now is there are some dead ghost zombie thingees. Shortly after, Dawn, new-girl-Kit and new-boy-Carlos end up crashing through the floor to the basement and a new mini Scooby Gang is formed! The Scrappy Gang! Or...not.

Off in England, Willow is being rehabbed by Giles and a fab coven. She is recovering from her post-Warren flaying, apocalyptic breakdown caused by Tara's murder, of course. Willow is there connecting with nature and learning that her deep magical power comes from the earth where everything is connected, but it's not all peachy with a side of keen. Some of it is evil and teethy, like the hell mouth.

Back at new Sunnydale High, Buffy's off to find Dawn but finds instead not only a bunch o' dead ghost zombie thingees but hey! Look it's Crazy-in-the-Basement-Spike! But he's sad. He went and scored himself a soul and now he's paying the high price. Pesky souls...when they're not plentiful inside Castiel or totally evading Sammy, they're just plain torturing Blondie Bear.

In the end, Buffy kicks some evil butt, Xander breaks a talisman and the monsters of the week are dead. It's kinda lame. But then something so awesome happens it turns this episode from a C to a...B+ like that! *snap* Nearly every Big Bad we've ever had morphs into one after another while giving Spike a speech about Power, ultimately landing on Buffy's form. I mean we got Warren and The Mayor and Glory (woo!) and Adam and Dru and even the frickin' Master! Taking it old school only like Joss can. It was a seriously bad-ass moment in Buffy history.

How do the eps compare?
Well, these 2 premieres are actually pretty different. Supernatch is wrapping up last season's arc and continuing on from there; Buffy is trying to basically be a new show at this point. It's all about the newness of Sunnydale High, Buffy's fresh outlook on life, the new hot Principal and even the new Scrappy Gang...which as we know goes nowhere and ends up being a totally wasted crew. In fact, the 3 minutes we learn about the tied up couple that got their Lightning Crystal robbed was probably more interesting. On the other hand, Supernatural's episode is sort of ironically called "Meet the New Boss", as it's really kind of the same ole'.

One interesting parallel, however, is Crazy-In-The-Basement Spike's evil-induced hallucinations alongside Sammy's same. Additionally, both shows are taunting us with evil "old ones." Guess it's a Season 7 thing.

Mini Battles!!:
Best Episode Villain:
Zombie Ghost Thingees vs. The Almighty Cas. Winner = Supernatural
(and later The First vs. Cas as a Leviathan. Winner=Too early to call.)

Snappy/Lame Comeback:
“Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” — Dean vs. Buffy, who uncharacteristically didn't even have one all episode. Winner = Supernatural

Epic Episode Ending:
Cas playing what is probably now his 5th character on this series vs. The First channeling nearly every major awesome villain ever.  (The Master, The Mayor and Glory, oh my!) Winner = Buffy

Final Ruling:
Gotta give this one to Supernatural. Barring a few, season openers were never Buffy's strong suit and "Lessons" is no exception. It definitely IS one of the better episodes of Buffy Season 7, though, so I'd say Supernatch is off to a good start beating out this one.

Season tally so far:


elainecleo said...

Supernatural was the clear winner in all categories for me, but what does the tea party have to do with anything in the show? Might be better to leave the political comments to a different website. Otherwise loved the thought that went into the column.

mbatz said...

Heh, Gotta say, as much as I love Supernatch, it is and always will be a weak version of Buff. I always thought Super was better as a monster of the week show and Buffy's season arcs were much stronger. i mean constantly digging deeper into Christianity got semi ridiculous seasons ago. leviathans? Purgatory...what's next if it stays around??? Dean and Sam vs God? wait, didn't they already sort of do that? Oh yeah, God up and ran away from the action yrs ago to go hobo train hopping:)They already crushed Lucifer and The Mother of all Evil (buffy's first)- they should just fight each other :) being a Catholic I always groaned out loud when an Angel mythology ep came on-not that I'm up in arms about it but my suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Leviathans, older than the oldest old ones older brother:) At least that was semi believable in Buff-they only played that Deus Ex card the last season but kripke shut the door after s5 by pulling Lucifer into the mix, so I hereby declare Buff the winner! As much as S7 was bad Supernatural can only get more ridiculous unless God just smites the entire planet to a burning cinder-the only resolution I'll believe:) I do still enjoy the brother banter. God knows how they get enough money to pay for gas and hotels all these yrs:) ok I'm done with this all over the place rant, love u guys:)

Tara said...

Thanks for the compliment elainecleo. Re: politics....Was just explaining what happened with the scene parodying the Tea Party in the episode.

And that was a good rant, mbatz. Gotta get it out!

Agree that there isn't too many places left to go w this show, thus solidifying the theory that maybe the greats should be capped. Better to burn out than fade away! On the other hand, I'm really pleased with SPN so far, much more than the first 2 eps of Buffy. It's been a pleasant surprise!

Anonymous said...

For Buffy comebacks, I always thought

I think I'd like Dawn to be my girlfriend.
Again, wrong sister. I'm the one that dates dead guys. And, no offense, but they were hotties.

was hilarious.