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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5, Episode 8: Shadow

DVDWritten by David Fury; Directed by Daniel Attias

This is an episode in which quite a lot is happening, but the episode doesn't really have an overarching theme. The key elements, I think, are the discovery that Joyce has a potentially fatal brain tumour, while Riley realises that, no matter what he does, he's of no help to Buffy. The thing about Riley in Season 5, I think, is that, without the Initiative, his whole life revolves around Buffy. (Does this guy even have a job? I think not.) Buffy, meanwhile, has a hell of a lot of other things to concern her, including friends, a family, a demon to fight and a mother who could be dying. And even at this incredibly difficult time, Riley can't deal with that.

I also love Glory coming to the Magic Box and Giles selling her the devices she needs to summon the giant CG snake she wants to seek out the Key (which, while still pretty bad, is at least a step up from the one at the end of Season 3). We also get our first hobbit with leprosy (horrible, horrible idea), who, incidentally, is played by Kevin Weisman from Alias.

Overall rating: 8/10.

Next time: Listening to Fear.


  • Sorry, another mythos question occurred to me in bed last night. It's odd what keeps me awake.

    At the end of season one Buffy temporarily dies and so there comes a second Slayer, Kenda. Kenda dies and Faith replaces her, so we know that the number of Slayers doesn't reset to one.

    At the end of season five Buffy dies and Faith is still alive. Does that mean there's a third Slayer on the way, or do they gloss over it?

    (By the way, that's one way to increase your team of Slayers. Simply kill one off with magic and constantly resurrect her. Knowing how bizarre the Watchers' Council's standards are, I'm almost surprised they haven't tried this...)

    By Baron Scarpia, at 11:03  

  • This particular issue has been a fierce topic of debate among the fan community, and I don't think there are any easy answers. Part of the problem is that the writers have always played hard and fast with their own mythology, something which reaches epic proportions in Seasons 6 and 7 as the mythology itself seems to change on an episode by episode basis. (Even the Season 5 finale doesn't entirely make sense: Glory's plan is to bleed Dawn and use her blood to open a portal into a hell dimension which won't close until "the blood stops flowing" - i.e. Dawn dies. How then does Buffy committing suicide close the portal? Okay, we get that she and Dawn share the same blood, which is a nice metaphor, but it still makes no sense.)

    Basically, the view I tend to subscribe to (as do quite a few people) is that Faith is the "true" Slayer, as was Kendra when she was called. The Slayer line therefore runs through Faith rather than Buffy, so a new one wouldn't be activated unless Faith was killed. In Season 7, it's revealed that the mess Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya made of the Slayer line when they resurrected Buffy at the start of Season 6 is what allowed the First Evil to set its plan into action, but I think that ultimately none of the writers really knew what they were doing by this stage.

    Believe me, whole papers have been written about this subject. It may have been keeping you awake, but at least you aren't making a career out of studying it as some people have!

    By Whiggles, at 11:12  

  • I never had problems with Buffy's suicide closing the portal, it made sense to me that they share the same blood and hence hers is able to close it, but wht did bug me is the whole "blood"-thing itself. What would have happened if the monks made the key a stone or a bicycle, like Glory herself suggested. How do they want to be able to bleed that?

    By Anonymous, at 15:26  

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