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April 16 2003

BtVS S7x18 'Dirty Girls' review at "All in all, this stands in my Top 5 episodes for the season." Do you agree?

I do agree. I think it managed to leave behind a lot of the small flaws of earlier episodes (okay, I'm not as critical as some people), and Nathan Fillion did a great job as Caleb. Faith shook things up well, too, as Faith always does. The way that she and Spike clicked was very appropriate.

I've resolved not to read spoilers this season, though, and the bit with Xander at the end just about killed me.
I agreed with the review -- a great, great episode.

Doesn't the overall just chemistry triple with Eliza Dushku on set? Mmmmm, yummy!

The extra continuing helpings of subtle and not-so-subtle slashy subtext in the Xandrew and Spander modes were also rather tasty. The tears Andrew shed at Xander's rousing (!) speech were simply priceless. And who but Spike should save Xander from losing the second eye?

Three cheers for Drew Goddard.
yeah. Nathan Fillon is so 'folksy-creepy' as Caleb. I'm ready to find out exactly what his story is, and although I knew what was coming with Xander, it was no less shocking, and that Spike was his 'rescuer' was and interesting arc.

I am now, trying to remain spoiler free for the remainder of the season---wanna bet I can't resist? ;)
ithilien --

I agree about Xander at the end there. I have to use the word "appalling" -- even though I'd read a spoiler about this, I had deeply refused to actually believe it. And it was much, much worse than I thought it would be even in my believing moments.

Now I am no longer reading BtVS spoilers -- it's just too horrible. I really don't want to know who is going to die.
What was the body count on that one?
A whole lotta death!
At least 2 deaths (pink SiT and Molly), and 3 grievous injuries (Shannon, Rona, Xander), not to mention a severe plummet in team morale.

Loved the whole ep, especially Faith + Spike and Caleb. Even my husband (normally lukewarm about Buffy) has been sucked in for the build to the finale; he thinks Caleb is the best villain since the Mayor. More please!
A great episode indeed. Everyone was on--I missed the lack of Anya, but she really doesn't seem to have much to do these days anyway. Caleb is great, and as soon as he grabbed Xander, I was seriously thinking our boy was toast. Some monstrous gore flow on the eye, there. Thumbs up all the way on an episode that really felt like the beginning of the end.
Loved, loved, loved this episode! Goddard is truly a god among writers. :) Loved the Faith/Spike scenes - great chemistry. Loved Caleb - mightily disturbing with the Woman Hate.
I can't believe I didn't notice that Anya was missing! Yeesh. And I love her character... but friarfunk is right; she hasn't had much to do since Selfless.
I've been inadvertently spoiled here and there, but I wasn't for Xander's eye. Poor Xander! I was so shocked I gasped and sprung up out of my chair! My heart breaks for him.

Really can not wait to see what happens next.

(poor Xander. ::sniffle::)
Best ep in a long, long while. Reminded me why I've liked Buffy all this time.
yeah, good stuff... but I gotta say that my romantic side was a little crushed when spike and faith were so bond-y (and what amazing chemistry between JM and ED!), and poor Buff was left out in the cold.
I have not been the greatest fan of Faith in the past, but it seemed to me that she has added an another dimension and has become (at the least) a three-dimensional character.
I agree with the general feedback here -- i loved the episode. I had spoiled myself earlier regarding Xander, however, seeing it happen was still a shock. I had kept it in mind that spoilers can be false now and again. Once Caleb grabbed Xander, I jumped from the couch and shrieked "oh my god its going to happen!" My boyfriend was completely clueless then he expressed his shock as well. It's just so sad.
I must respectfully disagree with the general opinion.

While I enjoyed the comedy bits (Vulcan!), I was hoping Faith's return would be given an entire episode instead of being squeezed in like it was this week. She's a significant character, and it was less than satisfying to see just bits of her here and there.

And I find that Caleb the misogynist Southern preacher is too broad a caricature. Hey look girls! He's a priest! He hates women! He talks like a redneck! I was reminded of Tara's cliched white trash family. Too easy and not that interesting.

And while I understand that Buffy is in the process of learning a long and difficult lesson about leadership, she was ***spectacularly*** stupid to bring raw recruits into an obvious trap. And Giles, Xander and Willow were just as stupid to go along with it. I felt like characters acting stupid simply to create a crisis situation.

And Xander's eye? Upsetting, and not in a good way. I think I would have appreciated it better if I didn't find Caleb so cartoony and annoying. Now if Xander had been half-blinded by Angelus, that would have been personal and interesting.

Anyway, I'll stop here. Still love the show, looking forward to the finale. At the same time, I'm enjoying Angel a lot more these days.

Please be gentle with your flames. :-)
It was a great episode and I wish that Caleb had been around for a season or something. But he'll make these last few great. The Spike/Faith chemistry was obviously gonna be there, but that makes it no less funny/interesting. I'm glad they referenced "Who Are You" since that was partly my basis for believing the 2 characters would have that spark. I still say if Faith ever had a show, Spike should be a recurring character. Vice versa, too. I love that Buffy gets jealous even when she's told Spike a million times that there's nothing between them. Buffy doth protest too much. I'm surprised that Xander was blinded, but I really liked his speech to the troops and his beginning was funny as well. He reminded me why I used to like his character. I agree with Vamp_Insurance that taking the potentials et al. into the "hornet's nest" was pretty damn stupid and not in keeping with the whole "be careful and train" arc they've been doing. All in all, a neo-classic.
Oh, and Faith *did* deserve her own episode, but that wasn't to be. Too much story development/info to cram into these last 5, I guess.
"Thumbs up"? friarfunk, you sick bastard -- nice!

I played with fire this season -- most of the "spoilers" were just announcements that Faith was going to be on the show -- and got burned with the Xander eye thing. I still wish there was a spoiler and a SPOILER tag, but I guess the show will be gone in a little while forever anyway.

Never much of a fan of the easy "WE'RE CHRISTIAN AND WE'RE EVIL" storylines in TV shows, but except for the easy copout of the southern accent I wasn't too annoyed by Caleb. Part of it is I am realizing more as time goes on how much I'm going to miss Firefly (now we'll never know why there were bullet guns in the future) and part of is that at least Whedon has waited until season 7 to go church bashing. I gotta give props for an atheist leaving that round in the chamber for this long.
What's so interesting about BtVS's relationship with the Christian Church, brother_grady, is that BtVS implicitly confirms the Christian faith. If crosses and holy water burn vampires, then there's obviously truth to the Christian belief system. I've waited seven years for them to at least address this directly, and I hoped Caleb might do that -- but it looks unlikely now. Still, though, I think there's more to Caleb's character than "we're Christian and we're evil," because BtVS touches on such issues in a deeper way than a more conventional show (i.e., "every other show in existence") ever could.

I suspect Joss has avoided the issue so long because he knows he could never reconcile the show and his beliefs. The closest he comes is through standard mythical metaphor: in "Who Are You," the Adam-inspired vampires take a congregation hostage to mock God's ineffectuality, yet He (we could easily interpret) sends the Slayer, thereby indirectly answering the vampires' challenge.

(And no, I'm not a crazy Christian or anything. It's just that the religion and faith underlying BtVS's premise has always seemed glaring to me, demanding exploration into territory that will now never be explored. And I don't mean show God in the sky getting pissed and dusting vampires or anything; I just mean actually making the issue a plot point once or twice rather than simply dancing around it, like they did in "Conversations with Dead People," when the PsycVamp asks Buffy, "By the way, does God exist, is there any word on that?" and Buffy answers, "Nothing concrete" -- like, sure, nothing concrete even though crosses burn vampires and you were, like, in *heaven*! I've always said that if I ever wrote a Buffy spec-script, it would revolve around the God-issue -- and would have a new character who's a priest.)
Joss says: "I don't think vampires are affected by other religious symbols. It is not simple religiosity that offends them -- I think there is old, bad blood between vampires and Christianity. This is partly because I don't want to confuse the issue on the show."

And Caleb is not Christian. Christians at least try to follow the teachings of Christ(I'm guessing, since I'm actually a one-day-per-year-if-I-remember Jew).
Caleb somehow reminds me of the less interesting bad guys in the 1950s' EC horror comics. You know, the ones that are so obviously evil and repulsive that you just immediately root for them to get mangled/eaten/crushed/mauled/slashed etc... It feels simplistic and manipulative, and I always figured that Joss was above that. I'm disappointed, at least until the season is over and I look back and realize how brilliant it was all along. :-)

That said, I still enjoy Nathan Fillion's performance in pretty much anything he plays. I didn't care for what Caleb said or did, but I loved the crazy gleam in his eyes. Nathan Fillion, me gusta tu trabajo.

(What's my idea of an interesting antagonist? In no particular order: Angelus, the Mayor, Faith, Holtz, Willow.)
Faith to Buffy: "You know all the cool vampires."

Didn't you just love that? As for the Faith and Spike chemistry? Well, aren't they somewhat opposite sides of the same coin? I saw their interaction as two former war buddies/enemies comparing war wounds---Faith should have had more of a dramatic entrance, but as it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there isn't going to be a Faith-centric spinoff, I can't complain.

Writing, direction, acting, everything was great. And is Nathan Fillion having fun as Caleb, or what? Awful accent aside (since he mentioned Knoxville, I am guessing he is supposed to be from Tennesse?), he is right on up there with the Mayor. JMHO, naturally.

friar_funk! ewwwwww! *wish I'd said it first*

Vamp_Insurance, no flames from me, we all see what we see and like what we like. And you and I agree 100% on 'Caleb'---it's like a huge train wreck, you don't want to watch, but you just HAVE to watch.

Isn't Joss such a smarty?
My mother is from near Knoxville, and that accent is nothing like an East Tennessee twang. Caleb had a line about never staying in one parish for very long, so let's assume he's from "the South" and traveled around a lot.

I feel kinda crap that Joss is using southern stereotypes on his show, but Caleb is pretty complex so I'll get over myself. Mr. Trick, still one of the best southern characters on tv ever, IMHO.
The use of a preacher with a southern accent automatically makes the character stereotypical? If I've learned one thing about Joss, it is that he plays on stereotypes. The moment that you are secure in the knowledge that you have everything figured out is the same moment he will yank the rug out from under you. I am unspoiled this season, so I could be proven wrong, but I have a feeling Caleb is going to be anything but typical.
Heh. I'm glad people picked up on thumbs up. ::evil giggle::

After some further consideration of this episode and rewatching that astounding final futile battle (not to mention the great closing Caleb narration very reminiscent of "Passion"), I'm putting this as my #2 episode so far this season, just behind "First Date." It finally feels like a payoff; the vague downtime in the middle of the season with "Showtime" and "Potential"--basically, when we were getting to know the SiTs--are finally starting to have an impact. It's like those crappy episodes in season five--you needed "Shadow" and "Listening to Fear" to explain some of the mythology and set up Joyce's illness, and it worked out in the end. I admit feeling shock when Molly got the knife in the gut, just because of those mid-season episodes where we had to deal with all SiTs, all the time. That works for me.

Also, on review--how sickly ironic that Xander urges the SiTs to go for the heart, neck, and eyes. "Everything has eyes." All too true, my bumbling carpenter.
I wonder if Caleb was trying to make Xander into a Bringer?
The evil southern preacher is a definite stereotype; it's a charicature that's grown out of southern "gothic" literature.

Southern accents are A) recognizable and distinctive and B) strongly associated with "charasmatic" brands of Christianity (Southern Baptist, Pentacostal Holiness, African-American churches). BtVS played this card in Season 2 with the vampire Absolom, who used the distinctive speech style of a black minister. I understand why they're portraying Caleb this way.

But I'm just thinking it'd be a lot more fun to see an evil preacher from, say, Minnesota maybe. How about Vermont? Arizona? Why do they always have to be southern? (Answer: because our culture has an ingrained, stereotypical perception of what Southerners are like, and fewer stereotypes about people from other regions of the US.)

Lots of ways to deconstruct why, in the media, Southern = Christian = Gothic = Evil, but this isn't really the place for that.
You seem to have missed my point, wren. I was trying to say that one episode is too early to label a continuing character as stereotypical. Many Buffyverse characters seem stereotypical (usually intentionally so) in their introduction, but then the convention is turned inside out a few episodes later.

I was not arguing that the evil southern preacher is or isn't a stereotype, but rather that Caleb probably won't be.
I think an evil preacher from Wisconsin or Canada would have been quirky--- ;)
Hey, just because Wisconsin is responsible for Gein, Dahmer, not to mention Joe McCarthy, that's no reason to single us out.

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