"I Only Have Eyes for You" [2x19]
Review by Mikelangelo "MikeJer" Marinaro
Posted by MikeJer on October 31, 2005Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: James Whitmore, Jr.
This is a retrospective review and may contain spoilers from anywhere in the series. Read at your own peril.
This is an absolutely riveting episode! There is flawless material at work here with perfect execution, and I find myself captivated by it every time. It is creepy, atmoshperic, has fantastic special effects, stunning cinematography, and a powerful message of forgiveness. What could have been just a boring ghost story was turned into an unusual and meaningful experience for Buffy.
It begins with a sad, repressed, and alone Buffy looking down at her friends and others having a good time. This is an interesting correlation to her S6 arc where she's in a similar personal state. There are some huge parallels specifically to "Dead Things" (6x13) at work here. Buffy's mood in this episode reminds me of how, in "Dead Things" (6x13), she is looking down on the dance floor in a similar (although much darker) state of mind, again alone with her friends down below having a good time.
Here in S2, though, she can still talk with her friends about her feelings as she does with Willow. Buffy tells her that she's done making impulsive decisions for a long while. In S6, it's the world and her friends she's hiding from when she has dispaired sex with Spike on the same balcony as she is standing on here. This entire episode is about forgiveness and the conclusion of "Dead Things" (6x13) involves Buffy crying in Tara's lap about feeling she, once again, doesn't deserve forgiveness for her questionable actions. In S2 she won't forgive herself for doing something that wasn't her fault (she didn't know Angel would lose his soul) while in S6 she won't forgive herself, once she realizes she didn't come back from the dead 'wrong,' for making real mistakes that are her fault.
There are a lot of metaphors at work in this episode, and they are all handled with care and are not "in your face." Giles says, "See, uh, many times the spirit is plagued by all manner of worldly troubles. Being dead, it has no way to, uh, to make its peace. So it, it lashes out, growing ever more confused, ever more angry." Buffy quickly replies, "So it's a normal teenager, only dead." Most teenagers experience great bouts of confusion, anger, and happiness: aggressive manifestations of both sides of the emotional spectrum.
The plot really captured my attention and imagination. I found the execution and directing of the plot stunning, and that's what really makes this episode much better than it could have been. It also has an aura of creepiness to it that really works. The special effects are wonderful as well, especially the sequence where the wasps are buzzing around the school and then suddenly separate to make a path so Buffy can enter the school.
While all of what I've discussed is great, it's the ending sequence that really propells this episode into fantastic territory. Buffy thinks the ghost doesn't deserve forgiveness, but that's exactly what the ghost needs. The reason why Buffy feels this way is because she is exactly like the ghost. She badly needs to forgive herself for causing Angel to lose his soul, but she isn't willing to give it to herself. She wants to be punished for her action and thinks she doesn't deserve forgiveness.
The ghost wants her because she's the only person it can truly identify with. Through possession she is able to forgive the ghost and the ghost is able to forgive her. It's so perfect that Angelus was possessed by the women, and that Buffy was possessed by the man who committed the tragedy. What the ghost is saying is directly applicable and meaningful for Buffy and Angel's situation as well. This entire scene is quite moving thanks to fantastic acting by both Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz. There's also a beautiful song in this sequence in the background. Frankly, kudos to everyone involved with that scene.
The episode wraps up back at the new mansion where Angelus is literally washing himself. He's complaining of being "violated by love." This is such an amusing sentiment, because many people think that love is often blinding and uncontrollable. If you twist that definition a bit, you can reach the word 'violating' to describe real love too. After Angelus and Drusilla wander off to kill people, Spike gets out of his wheelchair and announces he's back in business, and is extremely angry at Angelus. I love this entire episode: it's got chills, meaning, resonance, beauty, fantastic music, and power. How downright satisfying and tasty!
Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)
QuotesBUFFY:No, no, you seem like a really great guy, it's...me. I-I'm not seeing anybody. Ever again, actually.
BUFFY:I don't incite! I stopped that boy from killing his girlfriend, ask him. Ask the janitor.
SNYDER:People can be coerced, Summers. I'm no stranger to conspiracy. I saw JFK.
BUFFY:I'm telling you, something weird is going on.
XANDER:Something weird is going on. Isn't that our school motto?
XANDER:Oh, no, no. No. No cool. This was no wimpy chain rattler. This was 'I'm dead as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore.'
GILES:Well, despite the Xander-speak, that's a fairly accurate definition of a poltergeist.
ANGELUS:What do you know about it? I'm the one who was friggin' violated. You didn't have this thing in you.
DRUSILLA:What was it? A demon?
Post a Comment