Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Buffy 2x09 - "What's My Line, Part 1"

This episode and the following are a two-parter, but while they, unlike "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest," share a title, also unlike those episodes they weren't aired together. They were also produced as separate entities, with different directors and separate writing credits. So although the episode doesn't really tell a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end, I'm going to consider it on its own entity. Review after the jump.

"Oh, that's right, there can only be one. As long as I'm alive, there is no one else."

- Buffy

At the core of this episode is Buffy's desire not to be the Slayer anymore, but to instead live a normal life. it's familiar territory and there's a bit of a sense of "been there, done that" to it. In fact, it's much the same concept as "Welcome to the Hellmouth." But it's brought up in a convincing and non-abrupt way, using the career fair as away of dredging up this old anxiety. And it's also developed in an interesting way, as we devote time to considering the life Buffy could have had instead, and at the conclusion of the episode we get a bit of a shock when we realize that maybe Buffy isn't the only Slayer, and therefore doesn't have the responsibility that she thought she did. But that's obviously something to discuss in the next episode more fully. In any case, the career fair also leads to some funny character moments, as Xander laments being pegged as a prison guard, and Willow is secretly being selected by a major software company (apparently because of her ridiculous hacking feats). The latter leads to Willow's first meeting with Oz, although we don't get to see much of them together here.

The reveal of Kendra is handled quite well and not telegraphed at all. They do a really good job of making it seem like she is one of the three bounty hunter villains of the episode, and the reveal that she's another Slayer is a well-executed twist and is well-placed at the end of the episode. We're led into assuming that she attacks Angel because he's on the side of the Scoobies, when in fact she wants to slay him because he's a vampire.

Overall it's a pretty exciting episode, and there's a strong sense of a building story arc throughout it, but in many ways it feels like just a prelude to what's coming next week. Which of course it is.


  • This episode introduces Willy, the owner of the vampire/demon bar in Sunnydale. Not only is he good for comic relief, but his existence also serves to develop the sense of this demon subculture existing in Sunnydale.
  • This episode features the first mention of the term "Scooby Gang" in dialogue.
  • According to the commentary, Sarah Michelle Gellar is a skating fan and hobbyist, which is the reason it was incorporated into the show.
  • We see some nice daytime location filming in the "graveyard," which is something not seen very often on this show. It looks pretty nice, considering it's actually a parking lot.
  • When Buffy and Giles are discussing relics in the crypt Buffy says, "Note to self: Religion, freaky." This show's attitude toward religion is kind of interesting, but I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. There's more food for thought in the following episode.
  • I love the scene where Buffy is walking through the high school hallway, paranoid that anyone might be a bounty hunter out to kill her. [HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILERS] Of course, the police recruiter woman, who is one of the first people she sees in this scene, is the bounty hunter.
  • As always, beware of the audio commentary of this episode. It's full of spoilers and lots of them.

1 comment:

  1. No mention of bug gestalt guy? You have a shot of him here, but he's worthy of some discussion I think. Mega creepy.