Thursday, February 2, 2012

"The I in Team" (Buffy 4.13): Dr. Walsh likes to watch

And the Whedonverse responds with a collective: "Ew."
This episode has Maggie revealing her true, sociopathic colors, and we get Adam's big reveal, whom Maggie refers to as "our baby" (paging Dr. Freud, incident #1). Before commencing, I would like to register my annoyance with how the Initiative is incorporated into the Buffyverse. Where have they been for the previous three years? Do they just not work the high school or the cemetery? In any case, they're interested in recruiting The Slayer, now that they know she's not a demon boogeyman. As Buffy and the Initiative get more serious, so do Buffy and Riley, resulting in this week's big old DON'T. 

Buffy, DON'T be That Girl. You know, the one who ditches her best friends to hang out with some dude.

Because it makes you intolerable. Buffy spends most of the episode blowing off Teen Witch and the Slayerettes (as Spike refers to Willow, Xander, and Anya). She's too busy eyeballing Riley eating a Twinkie (paging Dr. Freud, incident #2) to listen to Willow,

Mooney-eyed staring does not become you.

and she brings the Initiative-ettes to a Scoobies-Only event at The Bronze. Even her apology makes my skin crawl, saying she's sorry for the "late-itude," and cops to busting up the reunion as "my total bad." Barf.

Not a fan of the pouting, either.

Because you might not notice that his friends kind of suck. Forest, Riley's second, is plenty annoying in this episode, giving Buffy the stink-eye at every opportunity, and whining about how close she has gotten to his commander.

What are you, five years old?

I would like to take this moment to invoke the Graham Exception, however. Graham is kind of awesome. He's cuter than Riley, nicer than Forest, and acts like a human being for forty-three straight minutes.

Exhibit A: He thinks Buffy's questions before she joins the Initiative on a hunt are sort of funny. Forest looks constipated.

Exhibit B: Graham looks normal and cool in his civvies. Forest is wearing peg-legged pants and what appear to be butt-shaping shoes, and Riley is sporting his signature glaring-white sneakers.

Exhibit C: The jawline.

Buffy should be dating Graham. So should Anya, as Xander's constant paternalistic censoring of her began to wear on me this episode. So should I. Team Graham.

Because you probably don't know him that well. But we do. After their "we're done fighting so let's bang" cross-cutting scene, there's some pretty revealing pillow talk.

If you can swallow down the bile long enough to pay attention.

Let me quote my intrepid co-watcher Jenn in full: "The post-coitus scene between Riley and Buffy re: questioning authority --> this highlights a MAJOR philosophical difference between the two characters that will be problematic not only in the next episode(s) but throughout their entire relationship as well. It really raises questions about Riley's stance on moral responsibility. If he isn't interested in finding out what's behind the Initiative's research on "sub-terrestrials," then how far is he willing to go to fight something that's different? Anya's anxiety about being an ex-demon is quite warranted if everyone's like Riley and willing to blindly follow orders. I know he changes, but still that willingness to not-question is problematic...."

Well said, sister.

Because his parents might be weird and overbearing. Again, I give you this.


Note that her expression watching Buffy and Riley bone via the surveillance she set up in his dorm room is identical to the one she wears while watching Buffy fight the two demons she sent her in against unarmed in an ill-conceived attempt to have her killed (paging Dr. Freud, incident #3).

Exactly the same, amiright?

Of course, it doesn't work, and Buffy, realizing the mission was a trap, is back in bad-ass mode, which is just how we like her. Riley saw too, and flies the military-industrial nest, leaving Maggie to scream after him in despair (paging Dr. Freud, incident #4).

This scene was fairly rad.
The episode ends with Adam coming to consciousness . . . and immediately skewering Mamma Maggie with a big, phallic, spike (paging Dr. Freud, incident #5).

RIP: Dr. Maggie Walsh . . . for now.

You really were pretty much a mega-bitch.

We're left with Buffy returning to the Scoobies, hat in hand, and Riley with his loyalties all in a wad. Jenn and I are steamrolling towards the end of the season, and it's still rocking the mic right.


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