MTVS Epic Rewatch #115
BTVS 5x01 Buffy vs Dracula
1) Buffy vs Dracula might not make it into any “best of BTVS” lists, but it’s a fun episode and it works as a season opener: it sets up some of the narrative that will drive this season (Buffy’s search for her identity as a slayer, Giles struggle to reconcile his personal needs with his desire to continue mentoring Buffy, Riley’s insecurities and feelings of inadequacy) and of course it ends with - dare I say - one of the best cliffhangers to have ever cliffhanged (that’s a word I’ve made up.) But more on that later.
2) I really love the opening scene in this episode. Buffy wakes up with an itch only a good slaying can scratch. So slaying she goes. Or shall we say hunting? And then she’s finally able to fall asleep. There’s no dialogue, but it very nicely sums up what Buffy is about. It’s also a nice reminder of how far she’s come since Welcome to the Hellmouth. Slayerness had always been a burden for Buffy, something she wanted to get away from but always felt she was pulled back into. In a lot of ways, it would always be a burden. But it’s also a part of her identity. She’s starting to embrace her slayerness, and it’s beautiful.
3) My favorite Riley scene, tbh.
4) So Willow started a fire with magic and created a storm… Hm, I wonder what’s the subliminal message regarding the consequences of her use of magic…
5) I love Giles’s die-hard hatred towards technology.
Obstinate bloody machine simply refused to work for me.
6) And then this moment…
GILES: That’s what I’m trying to do, actually, is, um, get a life. (…) You see, I’m, I’m going back to England. (…) Well, it’s become quite obvious that Buffy doesn’t need me. I don’t say that in a self-pitying way, I’m quite proud, actually.
He’s genuinely sincere when he says he’s proud of the fact Buffy doesn’t need him anymore. I think, however, the reason he so quickly agreed to Buffy’s request later on is because, regardless of how proud he was of her, he desperately wanted to feel needed and validated. He’d been a watcher for a long time and now that he hadn’t been one in quite a while, he no longer knew who he was or what he was supposed to do with his life. I think the thought of moving on frightened him because his future was so uncertain. Again, it’s a question of identity. (I know, I know, I’m always talking about this.) Falling back into the role of watcher was easy, comfortable, something he knew he was good at and something that gave meaning to his life. Buffy basically gave him an easy way out. But it just meant he was just postponing the inevitable…
7) This is the scene @etraytin mentioned when someone asked me whether the end of the episode was the moment when the monk’s spell kicked in. Buffy and Joyce are clearly having dinner alone - the table is set for two.
More importantly, there’s this line which clearly proves Dawn wasn’t anywhere around yet…
JOYCE: You know, I’m gonna have to get used to this place without you again. It gets so quiet.
If the spell had already been already working, Joyce wouldn’t have been worried about the house getting quiet without Buffy (we know Dawn was quite loud at the beginning…)
8) So, when Dracula showed himself and said “Such power”, this is all I could think about…
THANK YOU TUMBLR. YOU’VE RUINED ME.
A question for science: who would you have liked to play Dracula instead of this dude? (who apparently made a Dracula movie the same year he was on Buffy…) He wasn’t that bad, but he wasn’t great. And if you’re going to have Dracula show up in a vampire show, he’d better be great. (On that note, I’m really glad Freddie didn’t end up playing Dracula on this episode. I truly think he couldn’t have pulled it of…)