Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Two – a review by Luke

(Note: Keep in mind that spoilers are present!)

Welcome back to the Hellmouth! In celebration of twenty years since the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer made its debut, I have decided to review each of its seven seasons. Being one of my—if not my absolute—favourite series of all time, I am excited to write about it. Enjoy!

Angel (David Boreanaz) and Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar): Season Two Promotion

In her second year, things for Buffy and her friends, Willow and Xander, as well as her watcher, Giles, will get a whole lot more intense, more so in the second half. What Buffy will discover is that getting too close with her vampire-with-a-soul lover, Angel, is going to cause serious consequences, not just for her, but for everyone, as well.

Let’s start with the first episode. The season premiere, “When She Was Bad,” starts off in the cemetery late at night. After spending the summer break in L.A. with her father, Buffy returns to Sunnydale—and in such style: the typical throw-the-vampire-around-slayage, albeit in the most unpractical outfit; a short skirt, though, doesn’t slow her down. What I love about this episode is that it ties any loose ends from the first season’s finale, “Prophecy Girl”—notably, The Master—and it helps to set the tone for this particular season. Also, we get to see that even Buffy, whose death has shown to have affected her, doesn’t deal with things in the best of ways, and that, even though she is the slayer, she is still human.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Two cast (excluding Giles): Angel, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia

As for the season as a whole, it has many similarities to the first season. It follows the “monster-of-the-week” formula. Its tone continues to be a little darkish. And the whole “High School is Hell” resonates throughout its episodes: “School Hard” reminisces a shooting; there’s ghosts haunting in “I Only Have Eyes For You”; and steroids are proven to be not-so good in “Go Fish,” just to name a few. What season two manages to do is to keep everything fresh; everything worked in its favour.

Some of the symbolism, such as the few aforementioned episodes, used throughout the season are definitely clever. Also, there are many, many twists and turns. I thought that a really mean, but still clever—and definitely filled with emotional turmoil—one was when Angel went evil. Not only this, but what it symbolises was the idea that, after getting what they want—usually sexual pleasure—some people can turn into such assholes. And it didn’t just affect Buffy; it affected everyone

Joss Whedon has really shown what a talent he is. And he really loves to toy with our emotions. I mean, the episode “Passion” is, perhaps, the most cruellest after turning Angel evil; that one establishes his whole “Ooh, these characters are heading into happy land; why not kill one of them?” motif. I’m sorry to say, though: nothing has made me more heartbroken than the sixth season. But we’ll head down that road when we get to it. Even though I’d prefer to forget such trauma.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Two Promotion: Willow, Giles, Oz, Cordelia, Xander, Buffy, Angel, Spike, and Drusilla.

Like for season one, there are a few episodes that I don’t get all crazy about, mostly the creepy ones. “Some Assembly Required” is definitely creepy, what with the whole frankenstein-like story and dismembering—and it doesn’t really have much significance to the main story, but I will say that it does get the whole “High School is Hell” motif down. Another episode I’m not fussed on is “Bad Eggs”; I swear, it could’ve been a season one episode with the not-so amazing CGIing. And “Go Fish,” though it symbolises such an important topic, is such a gross episode—so gross, I skip it most of the time (sorry not sorry).

Now, here is my favourite part: the highlights. I loved “School Hard”; I mean, in this episode, we meet Spike and Drusilla, and Willow’s face, when she takes a sip from lemonade that Buffy made, is absolutely hilarious. Both parts of “What’s My Line” introduces a shocking twist: Buffy’s death, though temporary, awakened the next slayer’s powers. The two-parter “Surprise” and “Innocence” took the season to a whole new direction with its twist. “Passion” was both shocking and upsetting (poor Giles!). I don’t know why, but I really loved “I Only Have Eyes For You”; okay, maybe it’s something to do with the whole story behind the haunting ghosts, which always tugs on my heartstrings. And obviously, the two-parter series finale, “Becoming,” is a huge highlight. I will say, one of my favourite scenes is when Buffy “comes out” to her mother as the slayer; I feel like it would’ve given LGBT people something to connect with, especially since, back then, they weren’t included in too many narratives on TV (not like they are nowadays).

I thought that season two of Buffy definitely made significant improvements over its first season. Not to mention, the characters develop a lot; Willow, in particular, gains more confidence as she joins the dating scene and even finds herself more involved in witchcraft. And I loved the whole Xander and Cordelia affair; they provided such comic relief. The ending was so emotional, and definitely one of the most shocking, most heartbreaking finales I’ve watched. (But then, there’s season six…)

Stay tuned for my review on season three!

Copy of Season One

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