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May 14 2003

(SPOILER) Peter David Reviews 7ABB21 'End of Days.' "Once again Jane Espenson helps deliver a witty, character driven episode. But with one episode to go, wouldn't this be a good time to be plot driven?"

I agree that for an episode entitled "End of Days", it sure didn't have a lot of urgency. I mean, the character moments were great (and the deft movement from humor to darkness to melodrama and back again was handled much more gracefully than in some recent episodes), but compared to the frantic pace of "Two to Go" or the inescapable despair of "The Weight of the World", I definitely DIDN'T get the sense that the world was ending, or that something really, REALLY BIG was approaching.

I think this is a problem that I've been having with the whole second half of the season -- the writers did a great job of SETTING UP the First is the BIGGEST Big Bad, but after Buffy killed the Turok-Han in "Showtime", the First has basically sat around and done nothing until Caleb arrived, and then there was some killing and maniacal laughter, but now ... the First seems to just be sitting on its butt again. I mean, I'm sure that "Chosen" will be momentous, and brilliant, and everything that we've come to expect from "Buffy" at its best, but the writers could definitely done a better job of setting it up.

Still, I'll take strong characterization and weak plot development over the opposite any day. I caught tonight's episode of "Smallville" (the one that Peter David is so enthusiastic about), and while I am mildly curious about what's going to happen next, the characters sometimes feel so fake and their problems so artificially drawn out that it's hard to give a damn.
Since you mentioned Smallville, isn't interesting that tonight's Buffy and Smallville episodes both ended with someone getting kissed while someone else was bitterly standing by? Eerie.

Anyway, yeah, this year Buffy's been all about the "something big and bad is coming." But it's all tell, and no show. Makes me crazy.
Anyone - is the spoiler flagged for this review for the episode just aired, or for the finale?
For the episode just aired. Just beware the comments, posters often have spoilers in 'em.
Cool. Thanks, 'lific. I'm being sooo careful to avoid any possible spoilers for the finale. It's the last episode ever, I don't want to know anything about it before it starts... :)
The criticism is valid. All of my urgency going into the finale comes from the fact that it's The Last Buffy Ever. Which is like an event in my life, if you haven't figured that out. I think the writers figured that throwing in a bunch of lines along the theme of "Get ready; it's time" and a bunch of scenes involving people preparing for the end would be enough. I imagine they also probably got distracted by their own sense that the show is ending, and that like me, this bare fact provided enough urgency on its own for them that they didn't feel the need to create an artificial time frame to propel it.

I'm also trying to religiously avoid any possible spoilers, btw.
Trying to go spoilerfree is hard. Good luck to you grrarrgh00! I'm going to TRY to go spoiler free for the finale (I've already got the tissues all ready! plus being preggers is a big help, I can tell hubby that it's my hormones!)
Going spoiler-free, for me, has meant not even watching the UPN /trailers/ for the show. This kinda sucks, because I like watching the trailers, no matter how many random ads for contact lenses and the like UPN can stick in them.
Going spoiler-free, for me, has meant not even watching the UPN /trailers/ for the show.

THAT is hard! I could cry right now! (only kidding!) Tonight is a Biography Special on Buffy... I don't know if they'll spoil the finale tho'
Hey, are you makin' fun, Meester? ;) No, okay, so that did sound kinda sad about the trailers. Huff. Still, I usually like reading and watching as much stuff on Buffy as I can, and it's kinda annoying not being able to in case I stumble on some spoiler-age inadvertently. But it's okay about the Biography Special, cos I won't get that here in the UK. So phew, eh? Kinda.
I just have to say I disagree heartily with the review. I thought this episode provided a perfect blend of momentous action and touching, tear jerking character moments. With these final 2 episodes, if I could choose only heart pounding action or memorable, quiet scenes with these characters...I would pick the latter. And Peter David should give Doug Petrie some credit as well, our wonderful Jane didn't pen the ep all by her lonesome.
The urgency and pacing is not the same with the finales of the past but I would not say that its gone. Its the nature of the Big Bad being ever present, never knowing when it will strike.

Caleb appeared out of nowhere. Giles was played up to be the First in his returning episodes. Wood was a big ol' question mark and still is. Faith and Spike, both big bads, have returned to the side of good. Buffy's friends Judas Kissed her in episode 19. Andrew's road to redemption actually works as a storyline. Anya's return to humanity after killing again in "selfless" was heartbreaking.

Its the unpredictability of allegiences and the choices we make. Its kind of like the theme for this season and I think it held up pretty well. There were misfires and the uhm, potential for some of the storylines didn't seem as solid as it should be. BUT it works. Its entertaining, refreshingly different and WITHOUT SPOILERS would work much better for the audience.

So pooh to PAD's criticism of the pacing. We've got Willow and Giles researching again, Buffy and Xander sharing a good moment, a KICKASS, brutal opening, Angel's return (and total confidence in Buffy... they no longer live in each other's shadows.) and the cliffhanger ending... (alright, Spike's not likely to do anything but... ohh... the pain.)

Why does everything have to feel urgent all the time? Besides, I think the finale should take care of that.
Hey alpen, if you are in the UK then the season 6 DVD has that A&E show on it I think. Besides, its not like you're not getting the DVD, right? Bank account be damned!
Noo! Don't tempt me! I want that DVD muchos, but fear that two months away from my graduation might not be the best time to spend my money on it. Maybe I'll leave it as a reward for actually /graduating/... ;)

As for the sense of urgency, I agree that the unpredictable - and all-seeing - nature of the First means that it's hard to build momentum up to the final battle. Except, except, I still think they should have done it to some extent to show why everyone was leaving town. The only thing I think we're meant to assume that made people leave is all the people-popping at the school. Maybe there should just've been more of that kind of stuff.

[ edited by alpen on 2003-05-15 10:49 ]

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