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Happy Anniversary to Buffy!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sixteen years ago today, Buffy’s first episode aired.

I didn’t have a television for most of the time the series was on, but I still remember the summer I first got into it. I’d just gotten back from Scotland and moved in with a total and complete Buffy fanatic who was in the middle of a rewatch.

It only took about two episodes, and I was hooked.

So this month, in honor of the sixteenth anniversary of Buffy’s arrival in Sunnydale, I’d like to dedicate my blog to the show that became one of my favorite stories ever told.

Stay tuned this month for plenty of Hellmouth hijinks!

 

 

 

 

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In the Throes of Debilitating Grief: #TVD Thoughts

Whirl-fire

Whirl-fire (Photo credit: Loving Earth)

Spoilers abound in this post. If you’re not caught up on the Vampire Diaries, you might want to get lost. 

Wow.

The name of the episode was Let it Burn, but in my mind, it was the Episode of Debilitating Grief. When we left off, Jeremy looked dead. Really dead.

Last night’s episode confirmed what I had already thought true; Jeremy is gone, killed by Silas. His ring couldn’t save him.

When Elena brings Jeremy’s body back to Mystic Falls, she’s hoping he’ll wake. Stefan and Caroline are discussing the fact that Jeremy being a supernatural being (a Hunter), precluded the ring’s ability to save him, but Elena has hope.

And that hope gets smashed into bits.

I’ve heard some people complaining about Elena being “whiny,” but I think she’s handled the multitude of deaths with remarkable poise. I would challenge anyone to lose not one but TWO sets of parents, a beloved aunt, a surrogate father (Alaric), and all the other friends she’s lost along the way while maintaining sanity.

It only makes sense that losing her brother, her single remaining link to humanity, would be her snapping point. Because Jeremy is dead.

The only other television show I’ve seen to handle grief in such a spectacular way was Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the episode The Body.

You see Elena crumble as she realizes Jeremy’s not going to wake up. As she realizes she can smell him beginning to decompose. That her brother is really, truly gone. I think watching last night’s episode hit me so hard because of the year or so that my family has been through. Granted, two of the people we lost were older relatives, dying at the end of a long and fruitful life. But one was reft from us violently, and there is no other emotion I’ve ever experienced that is so painful, so debilitating. That’s the kind of grief that rips your legs right out from under you. It snatches away your breath and blows a hole in your insides so ragged and deep that nothing will fill it, and there’s no way to pull the edges back together.

That’s what Elena Gilbert experienced in last night’s episode.

And Damon helped her the only way he knew how: he told her to turn it off.

Some people were bashing on his decision to do that. I think he very probably saved her life. You can’t lose that many people to violence and pain without it changing you. He gave her psyche a respite, a chance to gain some distance. Yes, she’ll have to deal with it eventually and it might be just as bad or worse. But she was about to explode.

After all that, there was more going on. Silas is up and at ’em. Katherine whisked away the cure. Rebekah finds Shane’s broken body, and it’s made clear that Silas is the one whispering into Bonnie’s head and essentially pulling her puppet strings. That alone is an interesting revelation — Silas gets his revenge on the line of witches he couldn’t control in life by controlling its most recent offspring.

This could very well destroy Bonnie. Caroline is falling apart. Stefan and Damon are watching the woman they love disintegrate in front of them, and her ten thousand yard stare as she flips the switch on her emotions is one of the most gut-wrenching things I’ve seen on the show, topped in this episode only by her utter brokenness.

I found it interesting that Elena’s first act after she flipped the switch was also the exact thing she’d been about to do before she flipped it.

She burns her house down.

That act is of course rife with its own symbolism. Whether she finds the cure or not, whether she takes it or not, Elena Gilbert will never be the same girl who went off Wickery Bridge at the end of last season. Never again.

Let it burn.

What were your thoughts on last night’s episode? I felt like someone wrapped their hand around my heart and squeezed until nothing else could come out.

Bringing it Home: Season One of Supernatural

Supernatural

Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

It’s Terror Tuesday, and though Supernatural isn’t a horror show, there are definitely some scary moments. At the behest of Kristin McFarland, I started watching the show a couple months ago, but it wasn’t until this week that I really dug in and marathoned most of the first season.

I finished the first season yesterday. I had a lot of thoughts, both while watching and since finishing (I also watched the season 2 premiere), and I thought I’d lay some of them out here.

First seasons of shows can be a little ishy, and in my opinion, the first season of Supernatural was no exception. Don’t get me wrong; there was a lot of good, and I certainly intend to keep watching, but there were some head-scratching moments that took me out of the story.

For those of you who have not watched the show, be warned that here be spoilers. Mmkay?

The premise of the show is that these two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, lost their mother to a demon at a young age. After this horrific incident, their father started hunting the things that go bump in the night and expecting his kids to do the same. When the show begins, their father has vanished, Sam is in pre-law ignoring the beasties and considering proposing to his girlfriend, and Dean shows up to drag him out of his safe life and back into the world they grew up in.

It’s a pretty solid premise. They start out with the goal of finding their dad, who left them a journal full of dirt on the less-appealing creatures that roam the earth.

At first, I didn’t see much of an arc. Most of the episodes were sort of one-offs with Dad’s whereabouts occasionally speculated about and the boys tackling various spirits, ghosts, and ghoulies. If that’s all there was, I don’t know that I would have kept watching.

Supernatural

Like this episode, with the killer scarecrow. Erm, excuse me. Norse god Vanir. Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

There were even a couple of pretty blatant Buffy rip-off episodes that made me borderline amused. For instance, the episode “Something Wicked,” which bears erm, striking similarity to a season 2 episode of Buffy (“Killed by Death”) in which a monster attacks and steals the life force of children in a hospital. Buffy’s even mentioned a couple times (by a pair of Jonathan/Andrew-esque nerds who run a paranormal website). Aside from that stuff, the Winchester boys take on some well-known legends, like Bloody Mary.

All that’s cute, but what kept me watching first was the chemistry between Sam and Dean and the fact that they kept growing more layered as the season progressed. Dean goes from good ole boy to a big brother I think everyone wishes they’d had, a character with deep-seated emotions and an over-arching need to feel needed. Sam goes from a scared college boy in denial to someone who takes up the yoke given by his father with pride and learns just how much Dean sacrificed to preserve even a little of his innocence.

The dynamic between the brothers is striking, poignant, and often downright beautiful. Their dad, John Winchester, is sort of the weaker link in the family, because the writers didn’t seem to give him much consistency, which made his changing decisions seem foolhardy instead of touching. The brothers talked about him as a hard-ass, but it’s clear moving through the first season that he loves his boys, because even though he’s told them to stay away from him, John pulls an Angel and lurks in the vicinity, watching them.

He tells them they can’t help, then he changes his mind. He goes from singleminded demon-destruction plans to making a deal with one (okay, so that’s episode 1 of season 2), and his character gets a bit muddy because of it. Either way, the one constant in John Winchester’s character is that he loves his sons.

Supernatural

Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

 

Though there are some odd moments, the occasional killer truck, and a finale that was less cliff-hanger and more “What on earth are you trying to do?” but overall I really enjoyed the first season of Supernatural.

Through the last eight or so episodes, they did a good job of raising the stakes and cultivating tension on the show. My only WTF moment at the end was the finale, which seemed to suffer from a severe lack of thought. Demon leaves them for dead and just goes on its way? No. If that demon wanted them that dead that much (which, hello, it did), I don’t think it would have just assumed they wouldn’t come after it again after smashing them with a Freightliner. That said, the premiere episode of season 2 would have made a much better wrap-up to the first season because it is what more definitively ended the arc of season 1.

So, Supernatural fans, I’ll leave you with the knowledge that I’ll continue on. I’ll also give you a chance to let me know which Winchester boy I ought to have a crush on, because I’m torn. Vote below!

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