“Do you think they’ll let this count for my Sex-Ed credit?” Episode 8 Review

A Review of Episode 8 – The Other Half of Me

I’m sure there isn’t one of us out there who hasn’t wondered how the other half lives. Just a momentary glance into the mind of the opposite sex, you know, for a little looksie. In episode eight, “The Other Half of Me,” Xander Harris does just that after he is magically transfigured into a softer, curvier version of himself. (Herself?) After being mistaken for Spike by the Bian Xing demon, Xander wakes up to find himself in someone else’s shoes. Shoes that just so happen to be heels. And it’s up to the Scoobies to find a way to get him back before it’s too late.

I think the cast and crew made a bold move with this particular episode. A show like this could have easily become a caricature or a silly stereotype. And while the writers did allow themselves to have some fun, they kept the heart of the story in tact. I’d also like to credit a large portion of what made this work to Chris O’Connor, the actor who has brought Xander to life for this series. Many actors being asked to portray the opposite sex would take things too far, and blow certain characteristics out of proportion. Chris managed to find a nice balance and make Xander’s female persona sound feminine, without turning it into a joke, which would have taken away from the episode.

Along with Xander’s misadventures, we also get another hard look into the conflict that Willow is dealing with after being thrust into her current leadership role. The stress is taking its toll on her, and she seems to be teetering between feeling lost and inept to a powerful and in control mamma-jamma. All the while, growing closer and closer to her magic addiction.

As the season draws closer the finale, tensions are beginning to rise, and it’s clear that things are going to be coming to a head soon. As Giles wisely observes, “Sometimes people in grief turn to the darker side of magic to solve their problems.” Reminding us all just what exactly everything is leading up to. And I, for one, can’t wait to see just how BBtL is going to get us there.

Quote of the Episode Award goes to:

Anya: I was really looking forward to being a lesbian. We could share clothes and watch stick flicks.

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A fan audio drama that tells what happens between the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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