Monday, August 22, 2011

Buffy 3.10: A righteous man, and a righteous episode

"Amends" is one of my top-five favorite Buffy episodes of all time. It's smart (of course), insanely romantic (naturally) and, oh, just SETS UP THE BIG BAD FOR SEASON 7. My favorite words in the English language are "written and directed by Joss Whedon," so let's see what this pivotal episode has to say about love.

DO remember that everyone went through an awkward phase.
We all have things we regret in our past, Angel's just happen to be a bit more colorful than most. Though I thought this was our first glimpse of magically delicious Irish Angel, my intrepid co-watcher Jenn reminded me that we got a glimpse of A's back story last season in "Becoming" parts 1 & 2. Because those episodes are so emotionally devastating, I must have repressed it. Anyway, "Amends" gives us a line-up of Angelus's past victims through the clever trope of their returning to haunt him, goading him towards a suicidal existential crisis. More on that later.

Suck it, True Blood and Being Human, Buffy totally did ridiculous historical vampire hair first.

DON'T forget that the holidays are hard on everyone.
Though avoiding the "very special episode" trap, this is a story that relies on the intensity and drama that we've all come to expect around Christmas/Hanukkah. Along with the ghosts of victims past that plague Angel (including Jenny Calendar--good to see you back, Robia!), we have Faith's loneliness, Giles's conflict over helping Angel despite his grief over Jenny, Willow's desperate attempts to prove her love for Oz, and Xander's annual escape the family dysfunction camp-out in his backyard.

FINE. I forgive him for the whole, "they should have knocked before barging in on us cheating" speech from "The Wish."

DO find your torso.
Oz (I love you, Oz!) decides to get back together with Willow because missing her was like missing part of his body. Specifically, his torso.

You had me at "Okay, the thing is."

I think this metaphor actually says a lot about the way love works on the show. It lives in the heart and the blood and the guts ("It's not brains, children, it's blood." I miss you, Spike! Can't wait to see you in season 4!) and you can't breathe without it. As we learn in the episode's closing scenes, Angel is driven to sacrifice himself to the sun not because of guilt over the blood he's spilt (though he does feel really bad about it now), but because he knows that he would willingly be that person all over again just for one more moment of true happiness with Buffy. It doesn't matter that she has (temporarily) vanquished the First Evil, because Angel can't bear to live with or without a soul if he can't have her.

DO make this speech. As often as possible.

"I want you so badly, I want to take comfort in you, and I know it'll cost me my soul and a part of me doesn't care. I'm weak. I've never been anything else. It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man."

O. M. G. Known amongst my friends as the "I love you so much I have to die" speech, this scene delivers all of the raw Whedon brilliance that keeps me coming back for four (and counting) Buffy rewatches. Did I mention Angel looks like this while saying it?

Man, demon, whatever, I'm into it.

DO believe in signs.
Despite Angel's conviction that the world wants him dead, the Whedonverse is having none of it. Rather than the sun rising, snow starts falling, giving Buffy and Angel one more day (and roughly a dozen more episodes) to enjoy their why-god-why romance.

I love this episode so much I want to die.

1 comment:

  1. So did you like the episode? I can't tell from the post. Ha! I kid. Also, no one does bad vamp hair like the Twilight folks.