Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's My Line Pt. 1

Season #2, Episode #9: What's My Line Pt. 1

"Do I like shrubs?"

At my college's final soirée, a dark-haired vision in Prada approached me and said, "You need to rethink Drusilla." I consider his suggestion as I watch Drusilla whimpering again because of some reason or another. I suppose this time, she and Spike can't translate the manuscript that holds the antidote to her illness. Drusilla divines from some tarot cards that they need a key, which they magically know is in a mausoleum for plot purposes. But in order to prevent that pesky Buffy from ruining their healing ceremony, they summon a mystical trio of assassins to get rid of her once and for all.

Drusilla is a character I find wholly uninteresting because a. Juliet Landau is a horrible actress, and b. her character seems to come from an older generation of vampires--seductive, feminine, eerie, supernatural. Spike, who mostly looks like Billy Idol, runs rings around her in terms of charm and relevance to anything going on in the show. She's meant to be powerful and visionary, a cool juxtaposition with her simpering whining and macabre cutesiness, but all of these traits just come across as super high and crazy. I find her less terrible this time around but she still does nothing for me, as I'm never really sure what to make of her.

So anyway. It's time for the Sunnydale High career fair! Buffy is a bit mopey because no matter what her test says, she'll always have to be a Slayer. (Can't lead a Normal Life etc.) Angel comforts Buffy by inviting her to go ice skating. Apparently Baby Buffy was an aspirational Dorothy Hamill. Such a sweetheart! But that doesn't make Buffy feel any better when her career aptitude test tells her she has a future in law enforcement--too Slayer-ish?

Xander and Willow try to cover for Buffy's absence at the Career Fair when Synder comes a'knockin', which doesn't make our favorite principal very happy. He says to Xander, "Whatever comes out of your mouth is a meaningless waste of breath." Nothing more right on has been said.

Willow, on the other hand, showed great promise in her career aptitude test, and is corralled by a bunch of dudes in tuxedos who tell her how special she is. The only other person to receive such treatment? Why, it's Oz! Who woulda thought?

The assassins show up to Sunnydale by bus, which is just so delightfully quaint! One of them is dressed up like James Hetfield, and one pretends to sell make up door-to-door, and wait, is that a black woman arriving on a jet plane? On Buffy? The whitest show of all time??

The Scoobies are very anxious about the contents of Spike and Drusilla's manuscript. Giles even dramatically removes his glasses. But Buffy sneaks off to go on her ice skating date with Angel, which is rudely interrupted by James Hetfield. Buffy slices his throat open with an ice skate, one of the Top Ten Things I Didn't Realize I Was Terrified Of Happening To Me.

She and Angel make out while he has his vampirey face on, which is so romantic because get it? Buffy doesn't even care about him being a demon and all! Awww. But the jet plane woman spots them creepily and is none too pleased by what she sees!

Giles puts James Hetfield's ring under a microscope and realizes it belongs to the mystical assasins, who will never stop coming until they have finally killed Buffy. This puts her on edge as she walks through the career fair and imagines that everyone is trying to kill her. One fella has a killer knife comb, and Oz just has the wrong look in his eye. She runs off to Angel's lair for comfort, but he isn't there! Instead, he's at a demon bar pumping the bartender, Willie, for info about the assassins. (Poor Willie will be pumped by the Scoobies for many seasons to come.) He tells Angel that Spike and Drusilla are responsible--and then Angel gets kicked upside the head by jet plane lady? She sasses him using the worst accent this side of Drusilla--is it Jamaican? Irish? (Research shows it's modeled after a specific Jamaican dialect.) And then she locks him in an eastward-facing cage in eager anticipation of sunrise.

The episode is almost over, and we have so many loose ends to tie! Makeup assassin is apparently made up of worms. Of course. The ever-vain Cordelia invites him into Buffy's house, where she and Xander are gathering weapons, after he promises free samples. Angel's about to get incinerated by the sun. And jet plane lady attacks Buffy while she's asleep at Angel's. She's got a lot of nerve! "Who are you?" Buffy shouts between swings. "I'm Kendra, the vampire slayer!" she responds.


Favorite moment?: This episode is barely even an episode, but is more of a preamble to What's My Line Pt. 2. I don't have much to say. So I'm going to use this section to briefly address the overwhelming whiteness of this show. Up until the sudden appearance of Kendra, every single major and minor character, and at least 90% of the extras, are white or pass for white. The situation will hardly improve after Kendra. The show really paints itself into a corner by playing off of stereotypical high school dramas, particularly the super white upper-class ones--whenever Buffy attempts to address its whiteness, albeit rare, it ends in disaster. This will become more prevalent in later seasons, but there are some choice moments in Pt. 2 that we'll need to talk about, Whedon.


  1. Drusilla is the critique of the Buffy and Angel relationship! She's a warning to Buffy that for all her "feminist" strong woman talk, Angel will still reduce her to a man-depending teary ho-bag.

    But yes, more uninteresting than not, and Landau is a shitty actor.

  2. I'm going to need examples, Andy.
    From the text.

  3. It's all in Lie to Me, when the camera switches POVs from Buffy to Drusilla. The foreshadowing of Angel's violence to Buffy as told through the tale of Drusilla's siring. Buffy appears in Drusilla's white dress during an episode. And Buffy NEVER KILLS DRUSILLA, even though she has a good three chances over the course of the series to do so.