Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 7, Episode 17: Lies My Parents Told Me
Written by David Fury and Drew Goddard; Directed by David Fury
Can someone explain why it is that it’s taken until now for Wood to decide to do something about Spike, despite learning, three episodes ago, that Spike killed his mother (the New York subway Slayer we saw in Fool For Love)? Still, now I know why the writers made Spike’s chip malfunction: so he would be able to rough Wood up in this episode. Yet another perfect example of “the plot is all that matters”. (Kind of sounds a bit like Buffy’s “the mission is all that matters mantra, no?)
The character assassination of Giles continues in this episode, with him conspiring against Buffy with Wood in order to set Spike up. Never mind that Giles was so distraught over betraying her trust in Helpless that I couldn’t imagine him ever doing anything like that again - the only reason Buffy slams the door on Giles at the end of this episode, telling him that he has nothing left to teach her, is so Whedon can shove his trite “girl power” message down our throats in the final episode. Because it wouldn’t do for anyone other than Slayer Spice to be in the right, would it? Instead, Giles reverts back to being a crusty old fuddy-duddy, just like the Watchers’ Council he spent the last few years rebelling against. Check out his wacky horrified reaction to the new computer-driven Sunnydale High library - it’s like Season 1 all over again! I know the writers said they were going “back to the beginning”, but I didn’t realise until now that that also meant throwing away seven years’ worth of character development.
Still, this is a better episode than most of the ones that have preceded it, although once again it focuses on new characters like Wood (and Spike, who isn’t exactly new, but isn’t one of the original characters) at the expense of the “core four” (Buffy, Willow, Giles and Xander). Actually I don’t believe Xander, Dawn and Anya even appear in this episode except as background props, and Willow’s only substantial contribution is to say that she’s heading over to LA to help Angel Investigations out. Speaking of which, I’m going to watch the three episodes of Angel’s fourth season in which Faith appears (and Willow, in the third), which will hopefully be better than the dreck the Buffy crew have been serving up of late.
Overall rating: 5/10.
Next time: over to Angel for three episodes, then back for Dirty Girls.