ndsu spectrum: tv review
‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ start down the dark path
By JOHN HANSEN
Jan. 26, 2001
“Buffy” has bounced back nicely from last season’s Initiative arc with a bevy of intriguing plotlines.
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) now has a little sister named Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) owns a magic shop. Riley (Marc Blucas) starts to shake his Captain Cardboard image, then leaves for South America. Spike (James Marsters) is in love with Buffy.
On “Angel,” Drusilla (Juliet Landau) comes back and changes Darla (Julie Benz) into a vampire. Dru and Darla feast on a roomful of lawyers, and Angel (David Boreanaz) lets them do it. Then he fires Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), Wesley (Alexis Denisof) and Gunn (J. August Richards).
Both title characters seem to heading down a dark path. Angel spends pretty much the entire hour of “Redefinition” beating the crap out of random vampires and demons, and Buffy keeps breaking down at the merest suggestion that Xander and Anya might be breaking up in “Triangle” — she is no doubt blaming herself for Riley’s departure. If Angel or Buffy were to pull an Anakin Skywalker, wouldn’t it be fitting if Faith (Eliza Dushku) — who left her murderous ways behind with Angel’s and Buffy’s help — were to be the one to help turn them back?
“Buffy’s” season arc centers around Dawn, Buffy’s pseudo-little sis. Placed in the Summers’ house by a group of ancient monks, Dawn is the “key” to something big, and Glory, the season’s main villain, wants the key. The sibling rivalry scenes have been entertaining, and Trachtenberg plays the part perfectly.
But the most shocking and entertaining element of the year so far is Spike falling in love with Buffy. Last year, Spike was relegated to comic relief with an anti-violence chip in his brain. This year, he starts to get back into “I’m going to kill Buffy” mode until he realizes his respect for his rival’s skills have somehow turned into passion. To turn a vicious killer into a sympathetic lovesick fool is an amazing transition for Marsters.
Meanwhile on “Angel,” our favorite vampire detective is starting to show surprisingly erratic and unheroic traits. So far this season, he has accidentally killed a good demon, strangled Wolfram & Hart lawyer Lindsey just for the fun of it and generally displayed a Faith-like over-aggressiveness in beating up baddies.
The season’s biggest stunner came in “The Trial.” Just as Angel convinces Darla she’s been given a gift to be human and to die naturally in “The Trial,” Drusilla — teaming with W&H — enters the room and sires Darla. There are surprise endings, and then there are surprise endings that would make M. Night Shyamalan weak in the knees — this is one of the latter.
One thing is safe to say about Joss Whedon’s brilliant shows: there are plenty more surprises to come.
What: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season 5
When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays on The WB
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Marc Blucas, Michelle Trachtenberg, Emma Caulfield, James Marsters, Anthony Stewart Head
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Grade (episodes 1-12): A+