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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lovers Walk

It's that time of the week again when I put pen to paper, so to speak, and waffle a bit of nowt about the tellybox. It's a bit of a rush job actually, because the thing I intended to post, I've held back until next week, on account of it's slightly christmassy themed and I realised I'd jumped the gun slightly. So here I am, making it up as I go along at the last minute again.

There's a lot of stuff I could talk about of course. The Vampire Diaries and The Event are both well into their respective seasons, there is my tale of woe about how the person I was trusting to tape The Walking Dead for me has let me down, Misfits is trundling along being all kinds of awesome and of course I've always got the option of sticking up one of my top 5's that are tucked away for an emergency but it feels a bit soon for another one of them.

No, it's not going to be any of them. Instead, it's going to be about a certain episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And not just because the last time I wrote about Buffy on here it got more views in a day than pretty much all my other posts combined have managed in months. The power of this show, and Joss Whedons body of work in general, to pull in the punters, years after the fact, never ceases to amaze me. The strength of feeling his stuff brings on is phenomenal.

So if it's not just a cheap attempt to court the attentions of one of TVs most loyal fandoms then why am I talking about this show? Well, I'm in the midst of a rewatch, something I haven't done in a number of years, and I've come across, would you believe it, an episode I've never seen before. I was sure I'd seen all of this show, most episodes several times over, so I had a quick look at my Quest checklist and sure enough, the episode is ticked off. Something obviously went wrong somewhere along the line.

It's funny because the episode in question is actually a fairly pivotal one and I should have noticed that something was amiss during my original viewing of the show. It's from S3 and features the return of extremely popular character Spike, a major presence in S2 who had left town in that seasons finale. This was his sole contribution to S3, so it was a trifle cheeky of them to plaster him and his girlfriend Drusilla (who doesn't actually appear at all) on the packaging of the video releases, but that's by the by.

Spike returns to town because Dru has dumped him. One thing leads to another and he decides to kidnap budding witch Willow and force her to do a love spell so he can get Dru back. As you do.

Of course, none of that pesky plot stuff is really important (at least until the closing minutes). The episode is just an excuse to have Spike back doing what he does best; being really evil while at the same time being really cool, and winding up the regulars with his sarcastic, but true, insights into their lives. He doesn't give a shit, so he can say everything everyone else is thinking. And he does, taking great joy in it. He also gets one of his all to infrequent chances to interact with Buffys Mom Joyce, a character pairing that is never anything less than delightful together.

Those closing moments though, in which every romantic pairing on the show, Buffy/Angel, Xander/Cordelia, Willow/Oz, falls apart, some more permanently than others, is where the episode becomes truly pivotal. Which is where my confusion lies. You see, by rights, I should have noticed something was amiss when I watched the next episode and all the romantic entanglements were so screwed up. What did I think had happened? Especially odd when you consider that that next episode was The Wish and was entirely dependent on the break up of Xander and Cordelia for it's plot. I honestly don't remember. In my defence, it's possible that I did wonder what had happened for about 5 minutes and then just got swept up in The Wish, because it is a bloody good episode.

Anyway, at a time when I'm watching an awful lot of stuff that I'm not particularly enjoying for The Quest (buck your ideas up, terrible new V) it's hard to describe the thrill that comes from finding out that there is a little slice of goodness waiting to be sampled from one of my all time favourite shows. What other missed or long forgotten gems will I uncover on this rewatch? I don't think there are any more, but then again, I didn't think there was this one. For the first time I'm actually hoping for errors in my filing system. When you think about it, it's pretty damning on the current TV output, that I have to turn to 10 year old reruns for my jollies.

Next : Doctor Who at Christmas.

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