A long, long time ago (on a media platform far, far away), I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1. I had been warned off watching the movie, but, for whatever reason, never got around to watching the TV show. I heard all the good reviews, but just never started watching. Although the good reviews for Buffy and Angel did lead me to watch Joss Whedon’s next show. So one of the shows I decided to catch up on with my newly acquired Netflix account was season 2 of Buffy. It was a bit harrowing, since there were 22 episodes to catch up on. But, having watched it, I’m glad I did. Even though I know most of what happened (or will happen) from overhearing discussions, it was still a very enjoyable experience. Let’s check it out. (Spoilers ahead if that can be said about a 15-year-old show)
The biggest difference between Buffy season one and Buffy season two is the confidence the show now has in itself. This is no longer a show that is trying to figure itself out. This is a show that has a handle on the characters and the themes and is looking to draw the viewer along with well-timed plot twists and character realizations. The season is also full of romance. We have Buffy and Angel, Willow meets Oz, Giles taps around with Jenny and even Xander and Cordelia start seeing each other (in the most unlikely pairing). And uses those relationships to define the characters in good and bad ways. The biggest plot point in the entire series is Buffy and Angel’s relationship. They grow closer throughout the season as they look for ways to beat Spike and Drusilla. Then after capping their growing romance with sex, the spell placed on him breaks and good guy Angel becomes bad guy Angelus. This is so well done that it’s acclaim is fully deserved. Whedon and company use the fantasy elements of vampires and spells to highlight the real life teen worry about their partner changing after they have sex. I just wish other vampire/teen shows could see how to tie together the themes with the plot actions as a master class in how to run a show.
In other relationsships, Cordelia becomes more tied up with the Scooby gang when she starts dating Xander as she realizes that they make her happier than her mean girl friends ever did. Giles relationship with Jenny is really the two of them dancing around whether or not to have a relationship. Then when Angellus kills Jenny, Giles goes crazy as his fear about his calling as a Watcher destroying his relationships comes true. Oz is around mainly as comic relief as he and Willow slowly break out of their insecurities and start a sweet relationship.
There is also additional power being added to the cast. After Jenny dies, Willow starts taking up magic (to help save Angel) and this will play a huge factor in later seasons. In addition, Oz gets a bite from his baby cousin, which turns him into a werewolf. The one-sided conversation that Oz has with his Aunt about his cousin possibly being a werewolf is completely hilarious. And, in a call back to the season 1 finale where Buffy temporarily died, we meet Kendra the Vampire Slayer. A slayer becomes activated when the previous one dies. Since Buffy technically died, we now how two Slayers. Even though Kendra dies at the end of season 2, this will continue in future seasons.
Overall, this is a well done season of TV. Normally I wouldn’t complain about getting 22 episodes of a good TV show, however it’s obvious that there are some episodes that are just plain filler. And the Spike, Angel, Drusilla team do very little for several episodes since they need to wait for the finale before they can act. This creates some slow points during the back half of the season as we watch the bad guys do very little. But, as a whole, the show is a wonderful story that was well worth viewing. Highly recommended.