Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Real Me" (Buffy 5.2): Dawn and the Dead

So after the meta-tastic awesomeness of "Buffy vs. Dracula," a bit of a letdown was almost inevitable. "Real Me" is all about bringing everyone on board with the new Summers sister in Sunnydale, and though there are some fun moments, it's a little, as my intrepid co-watcher Jenn terms it, "blah." But on we merrily tread through the Buffy guide to executing a notorious mindfuck.

DO have a bit of fun with it. Dawn's true origins will be revealed later in the season, so we'll save any and all debates about the sturdiness of that mythology for then. As for now, all we know is that suddenly Buffy has a little sister, and no one is acting like that's at all odd. The episode is framed by Dawn writing in her diary, and some of her lines--"No one knows who I am"; "No one understands"--are clever nods to the audience's likely responses.

For the first but not the last time, let me express my admiration of Dawn's hair.

DO include some other new beginnings, to take the edge off. Dawn's appearance is not the only changes that get introduced in season 5. We get a new Scoobie clubhouse to replace the library when Giles becomes proprietor of the Magic Box (his apartment never had the same feel).

Me? I would have tried to buy the adjacent liquor van.

The store's previous claim to fame was serving as the location of Spike's magnificent "I'm love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it" speech in season 3's "Lovers Walk." Let's look at an animated rendition of it, shall we?

Giles has also made some other life changes over the summer, including getting rid of the Citroen and buying a mid-life-crisis-mobile.

Looking good, Ripper!

DO keep the tricks coming. So far, this season seems to be all about messing with the fans' minds. Vamp Harmony and her minions playing at Big Bad is both a deflection from and a nod to the real snotty, materialistic girl who will bring the pain this season--Glory.

Not for nothing, but Harmony also has nice hair.

Now might be as good a time as ever to air some grievances about Dawn. I'll let Jenn take it away: "Dawn's age. She's supposed to be 14, right? But, that has NEVER played for me. She's right she shouldn't need a babysitter at that age. Moreover, everyone treats her like she's 10-12. There is no way a 14 year old would be so young. I don't care about the whole Key thing. Her age has never sat well for me. I really think the writers--even Joss--have really missed the mark when it comes to portraying her. They should have taken a cue from JK Rowling when it comes to representing kids."

It's true--I don't mind Dawn's existence, just her infuriating immaturity. Oh, and just because I can't leave a post without a Riley Rant--why is he laughing it up at the idea of Harmony having minions? He didn't know her in high school.

It's an inside joke. Tool.

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