Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Season Seven Showdown: Episode 3 - "The Girl Next Door" vs. "Same Time, Same Place"

In case you're behind on this little shindig, for the 2011-12 TV season we'll be comparing and contrasting the Season 7s of some of our faves, Buffy & Supernatural. In doing this, we're going to find out if a Seventh Season is maybe a season or two too many in the world of television. We're on episode 3. Here we go!

Supernatural Episode #3 - "The Girl Next Door"
Episode Synopsis: The boys are on the run but there isn't much running as Dean has a bum leg, all courtesy of Leviathan. While holed up in cabin de Ruphus, Sam goes on a tangent Monster of the Week story of his own, bumping in to a past demon love. Starts with a bang! Ends with a downer. Jensen Ackles directs and Traitor Whedonverse alum Jewel Staite guest stars, throwing this whole Showdown for a loop!

The Deets:
The ep starts off right where "Hello Cruel World" leaves off, which for the third time in a row is fantastico. That will be no longer, however, as the ep does NOT end with a kick-ass cliffhanger this time. Oh well. Sorry I skipped to the end, but it was worth noting. So the ep starts off with the hotness in the Sioux Falls Hospital which, if you'll remember, is infested with undercover Leviathan at this point. Dean's freaking out, but Bobby pops in out of nowhere (seriously, what happened?) and they, plus Sammy who is also all healed up, scootch the eff out of there. This *right here* is where the amazing pace and intense, edge-of-the-seat suspense that the show has been enjoying since last season's finale leaves us, hopefully just for now. Guess it had to end at some point, but is this where the season takes a turn for the typical 7-style worse?

It's three weeks later and the guys have hoofed over to a cabin owned by the late, great Ruphus Turner. See Bobby had copies of all of his irreplaceable books stashed there, so it's ok that Bobby's house burned down. I'm not sure how I feel about this. One one hand, I like Bobby's house. It's the one place the boys could call "home" and Dean fixed the car up about a hundred times there. On the other hand, I have been missing the retro-themed hotel-motels. I guess the cabin will be home base for a while, where Dean is mending on the sofa and Sam is insisting for the umpteenth time that he's insane but "managing" it.

Eventually, Sammy goes off on his own tangent, hunting a monster of the week who just happens to turn out to be an old teenage flame. And what's this!? She's cute, she's a mechanic, she eats strawberries and pituitary glands for breakfast, it's Jewel Staite everybody! Long story short, Jewel plays Amy Pond (a reference to Dr. Who, I hear) who is a Kitsune demon gone good. She's been killing a lot of people lately but the only reason is because her son is sick. Sam doesn't want to hunt her down because it turns out she killed her own mom to save Sam's life when they were kids. In the end, he lets her go...only to have Dean sneak in and finish the job. And for that, the son is pissed. For the record, I'm annoyed with Dean too.

The Leviathan are mostly absent from the ep with the exception of them learning of the guys whereabouts by tracking a stolen credit card. The end.

Buffy Episode #3 - "Same Time, Same Place"
The episode starts with Buffy, Dawn and Xander at the airport with a sign written in yellow crayon, which I don't really find that cute. They're waiting for Willow who seemingly never arrives. But Willow does arrive in a separate, but identical scene and sadly goes home alone to Buffy's where similarly, no one ever arrives. I'm seeing a theme here. When the Scoobs do actually get home, it's clear that something wacky is definitely afoot. This is confirmed by the fact that elsewhere, some guy is getting killed by a Danny Elfman type voice.

Skip to the next morning, Willow has a chat with Anya at the Magic Box. After, Willow (and then Buffy and Xander) find a skinless body ala Warren's demise. Of course everyone thinks Willow is the murderer because of her flaying history. Oh and Spike's still in the basement! I knew my memory wasn't failing me. The reason I remembered him being down there longer is because he is. We're then shown the same scene twice: Spike's babbling his basement talk first with Willow, then a repeat of the same conversation from a different angle with Buffy and Xander present. So it's revealed that Spike can see everyone, but Willow and Xander/Buffy can't see each other. Xander's passing it off as Spike's crazy. It's all actually very nicely done.

Willow goes back to Anya to ask for some Spell Casting Assistance reminiscent of "Doppelgangland", the findings of which are a location for the demon du jour. Meanwhile, Buffy, Xander and Dawn are doing a little research the old fashioned way, with Dawn being the new Googler of the house. Turns out the demon is called "Gnarl"and since he skins, eats and drinks the blood of their victims, Buffy figures they can use Spike as a blood tracker. You know, these later seasons of Buffy have a lot of walking through the woods. Were there this many woodsy scenes in the earlier seasons?

Spike leads them to a cave. Inside, Dawn gets a scratch and since the nails of Gnarl are paralyzing, they all scootch the eff out of there and block the place up with rocks. Little do they know that they barricade Willow up in there, because she's still invisible to them. Back at the house, Anya is called over to babysit paralyzed Dawn (she's posable!) and it's then the Scoobs finally find out that Willow's back in town after all. They all run back to the cave where Anya points out to those who can't see her, that Willow's being eaten alive...gross. After defeating Gnarl by way of THUMBS IN THE EYES (foreshadowing!), they learn that the demon didn't cause Willow's invisibility at all. It was all because of Willow's fear. Back in Buffy's old bedroom, Buffy admits that she thought Willow might have been the murderer but she wants to trust her again. Then they start the healing process, together. The end.

How do the eps compare?
Well, the biggest comparison here would be the people eating Monsters of the Week. I guess there's also the theme of both Willow and Sammy getting passed their past. Oh, and the fact that Giles and Cas are STILL ABSENT! Dammit, Cas!

Mini Battles!!:
Best Episode Villain:
Jewel Staite as Kitsune vs. Gross Gnarl Winner=Supernatural

Best Quote About Eating People:
“Plain old people taste fine, but everything is better with cheese.” - Leviathan vs. "Maybe it's a vicious skin-eating rock cliff." - Xander. Winner=Neither, they both squick me out.

Epic Episode Ending:
Dean offing the old girlfriend without his brother's permission vs. Buffy offering Willow her slayer strength to help her heal.  Winner=Eh, I guess Buffy?

Final Ruling:
Neither of these episodes were particularly stellar. They were both just fine, not bad. "Same Time, Same Place" isn't nearly as terrible as I remember, but the lame and disgusting demon really kicked it down a notch. Jewel Staite kind of tipped the scale, the little minx. Winner=Supernatural

Season tally so far:


hamstap85 said...

if supernatch wins one more time in a row I will call you a traitor...

lol nah just kidding. I agree with you that the basement scene with Spike was well written.

Steph said...

Buffy is getting spanked... and not in a fun sexytiemz way.

This episode of SPN was so-so. I always love seeing young!Sammeh and Dean. Jewel was great too, even though her kid was creeptastic.

As for Buffy, I love crazy in the basement Spike's interaction with Willow, Xander and Buffy. And Gnarl is so gross and creepy.

mbatz said...

"Are you alright Sammy?"
'I'm fine Dean"
"No you're not"
"yes I am"
"no you're NOT'
"Bobby, what do you think?"
"It is what it is"
"Oh ok then, I'll just sit back watch some porn, throw some pop culturey references around and then clean up Sammy's mess! AGAIN!"

Heh, Love it.

Anonymous said...

"In doing this, we're going to find out if a Seventh Season is maybe a season or two too many in the world of television."

I can't see how on earth you plan to do that when all you've told me thus far is that because the boys are hot, you like Supernatural better.

You just lost me. I'm done.

Tara said...

Ha! mbatz...that was a cute one.

And valyssia, I can't even believe I'm going to come to the defense of this silly article series, but this site is called BUFFYFEST. Almost 4 years running. If we really liked Supernatch more merely because the boys are hot, the blog would have a whole other name. And Buffy has plenty of hotness.

Besides, when did I say that's why the ep was better? I clearly said, both eps were mediocre but Supernatch had a better villain. OK, now I'm done.

Tara said...

Are you drunk already?

mbatz said...

Does anyone else think that the shortened "supernatch" sounds semi porno? Or is that just me and my dirty mind? :) *crickets*