Category Episode Reviews

“Think about it.” Episode 7 Review

A Review of Episode 7 – Fractures, Frogs & Fuzzy Sweaters

In the wake of their first loss following Buffy, the Scoobies seem shaken. None more so than the gang’s newly appointed leader, Willow. In the latest episode, “Fractures, Frogs and Fuzzy Sweaters,” we watch as she continues to delve into magicks that are growing steadily blacker. Meanwhile the Trio accidentally unleashes a plague of frogs onto the town of Sunnydale.

But this episode isn’t just magic bones and funny frog fears. There’s something dark running below the surface. Willow’s magick addiction has taken a hold of her. And people are noticing. While her friends may still tiptoe around the subject, there’s one individual who certainly won’t hold his tongue. The confrontation between Spike and Willow is heated. And Spike’s vehement concern for Dawn’s safety is heartfelt and sincere.

And in a rather shocking turn of events, we also learn that it was in fact Xander who first broached the subject of bringing Buffy back. “Chapter 60, onwards.” He says quietly to Willow while she lies in bed, stunned. “Think about it.” Well, I certainly will.

We all know what a huge project Buffy Between the Lines is, made particularly more difficult by the time frame of season one. Buffy’s season six is most notably the darkest of the series. So to preface that, can’t exactly be a walk in the park. So far through the show’s seven episodes, this extremely talented team of writers has managed to bridge the gap between seasons five and six; continuing and building relationships, foreshadowing, and throwing in a few surprise twists. And they deserve huge thanks and recognition for all their hard work and skill. If these crazy kids can do this much with season one, I most certainly can’t wait to see what they come up with for season two!

Quote of the Episode Award goes to:

Andrew: Ever since Candyce died, I…I mean, It’s like Luke was abandoned by his Leia. It’s like Mulder with no Sculley. J.D. without a Dr. Cox. I’m a broken man, I tell you! I’m broken and aimless without, without aim!

“Forget that train of thought, it only ends with drunken neglect.” Episode 6 Review

A Review of Episode 6 – Followed Footsteps

Sunnydale has been home to more than one wanna-be-bad. So when the Scoobies meet up with Javert and finally get the scoop on his plan o’destruction, it’s not surprising that they don’t immediately start quaking with fear. (Get it? Quake…oh, never mind.) After all, what’s a little earthquake when you’ve already faced down 5 apocalypses?

In Episode 6, “Followed Footsteps,” we finally learn the story behind this season’s Big Bad. After a night of heavy drinking back in 1940’s France, we learn that Spike got a little more than he bargained for from his midnight snack.. After unknowingly siring the young Javert, he disappears and sets into motion the chain of events that will lead to tragedy for the Scooby gang.

While in the present, the scoobs continue to spin further away from each other as they squabble and pick petty arguments. And they realize far too late just what sort of threat Javert truly poses. With the death of Candyce Wells on their shoulders and the prospect of California sinking into the ocean, the gang is going to have to put aside their differences and pull out that old Team Scooby magic if they want to make it through this one.

But this episode isn’t all doom, gloom, and untimely death. We’re also given a glimpse at the presentation of the famed “Boss of Us” plaque that Xander made for Willow. And an amusing little scene where we find out just how much Andrew loves … sprinkles.

From highs to lows, this episode hit all the right marks. Writer Emma Rawlin takes you from giggles to gut wrenching in true Joss Whedon form. And you know it just wouldn’t be Buffy without a few fallen soldiers along the way. (Here’s a tip: Listening to the episode again after the BBtL extra “The Tara and Candyce Chronicles” makes the ending even more heart breaking.) So, here’s to you Candyce. We’ll miss you.

Quote of the Episode award goes to:
Anya: I know what’s happening here. You’re trying to make me feel inferior, to diminish me in front of everyone else, because I dare to question your authority.

“She meant it when she said we were all family.” Episode 5 Review

A Review of Episode 5 – She’s More than That

 

The Scooby Gang has always been a family of sorts. And an exceptionally strong family at that, because they’ve had each other. But now that Buffy is gone, we’re starting to see holes where she used to hold them all together. In episode 5, “She’s More Than That” we begin to see that as hard as they try to pretend that everything is alright, our rag-tag group of heroes are not coping as well as they would like others to believe.

Xander, hurt that Buffy chose Spike to protect Dawn above himself, has been throwing himself into his work. Meanwhile Willow continues down her path toward magick addiction. And Giles and Spike both continue their separate mourning, convinced that Buffy’s death lies on their shoulders.

The gang drifts further apart, hiding their feelings from one another, while struggling to con Child Protective Services in order to keep Dawn safe. All the while the vampire Javert reveals his own plan to turn Sunnydale into the Atlantis of the 21st Century. Can the Scoobs do it? Can they pull themselves together before it’s too late and Sunnydale becomes the world’s largest water-park?

It’s no surprise that nearly every episode of the original Buffy had an underlying theme. And a theme that we’ve seen time and time again within the Buffyverse, is that of family. This family not always be functional, and they’re certainly not normal. But they are a family. Even if they’re missing a member. They’re certainly lost without Buffy, but they also have the capability to be that family without her. I think this episode manages to capture that particularly well within one of its final scenes, when the group visits Spike in his crypt with housewarming presents. So let’s hope that the gang can keep it together, because if Buffy has taught me anything, it’s that you’ve got to stick by one another. Because when the chips are down, and an evil vampire is trying to sink your state, you’re going to want someone fighting by your side.

Quote of the Episode award goes to:

Dawn: He’s just moody because we caught him watching Dawson’s Creek.

Giles: Has Dawson reconciled with that Joey girl?

Spike: Well I’d know if the lot of you would button it. And any blind fool can see she’s going to end up with that Pacey bloke.

“Where do you go?” Episode 4 Review

A Review of Episode 4 – CTRL + ALT + DEL

In the latest episode of Buffy Between the Lines, we are given a unique perspective on the Sunnydale survivors through a series of scenes narrated by The BuffyBot. We’ve all seen and laughed along with BuffyBot’s simplistic world views, but what happens when everyone around her is dealing with their very complex grief?

The answer, of course, is “CTRL + ALT + DEL” The episode was extremely well done, beginning to take a subtle look at how the characters begin to adjust to life A.B. (After Buffy.) The Bot’s simple words capture their grieving perfectly. She may be just a robot, but BuffyBot sees more than any of them realize.

Meanwhile trouble is a’brewin just out of sight. By this of course, I mean the antics of the vampire Javert, who was busy recruiting new accomplices. The first of which was D’Hoffryn, patron saint of the scorned! (Who now has a handy automated voicemail system.) I was also delighted to see the return of hellgod-minion extraordinaire, Jinx, who arrived with all of his complementary adjectives in tact.

As always, the script was very well written, staying true to the characters that we all love. And the actors seem to be growing evermore comfortable within their roles as well, but this time around, I would like to pay special tribute to the team behind the show’s wonderful music. From the theme song to the end credits, the music is a big part of what makes this show so extraordinary. The original music composed for the show is excellent, paying homage to the original series, without copying it. I especially enjoyed the song that played during Buffy Bot’s final monologue. It helped to make her simple words all the more poignant and meaningful.

Quote of the Episode award goes to:

Buffy Bot: Buffy was…scared, but very brave. I want to be Buffy now. Be brave, and help people. They think I don’t understand, but it’s not that. I don’t always comprehend, but I do understand. I’m supposed to make people happy, that is my programming. And that is what I’m planning on doing. It’s what the other me would have wanted.

“You can battle your own demons. Not mine.” Episode 3 Review

A Review of Episode 3 – Never Go Up Against a Sorcerer When Death is On the Line…

Episode 3 throws another character driven show our way; this time around we (quite literally) delve into the mind of Watcher extraordinaire, Rupert Giles. Oh dear. After facing down a fire-breathing dragon and other painful reminders of his slayer’s untimely death, Giles hides away in the Magic Box with nothing more than a bottle of Scotch for company. That is, until the wonderfully devious Ethan Rayne shows up to lock his old friend up in his mind, where his pain and guilt keep him prisoner. The Scoobies are stuck waiting, searching for a way to help Giles, as he is forced to battle his own thoughts.

The episode had some truly amazing moments. Some, like Xander’s offer to get donuts and talk about old times, were subtle and incredibly sweet. Others, like Buffy blaming Giles for her death were powerful and heart-breaking to listen to. With a great mix of humor and drama, episode three proves that this show just keeps getting better and better.

While the previous episodes had a large focus on fighting off the black hats, “Never Go Up Against A Sorcerer When Death Is On The Line” centered largely on the character’s internal struggles. While slightly less action-packed, it’s certainly not any less important. And I loved that writer Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard was able to bring out just how much Buffy meant to Giles without venturing into the land of cliché. Character development was a huge part of the original series, and it’s nice to see that it’s importance hasn’t been lost on this show.

The episode also gave us a few great extras. Like the birth of everyone’s favorite troika, watcher diaries through the ages, and a sweet ending scene between Faith and Angel.

Once again I feel the need to praise the writers, actors, producers, editors, and everyone who has put together this amazing project.

Quote of the Episode Award goes to:

Dawn: I think I saw “Mystery Date” game in the lounge.
Anya: Oh! Is there money to win in “Mystery Date?”
Dawn: Nope. Otherwise it’d be called “Hooker Date.”

“Remember our discussion about appropriate segues?” Episode 2 Review

A Review of Episode 2 – Requiem for a Demon

“Los Angeles! Home of the Dodgers. Movies. And a broody vampire who…”

Buffy Between the Lines is back for Episode 2, and they’ve brought along the Angel Investigations crew for good measure. “Requiem for a Demon” takes on the daunting task of interlacing two separate storylines. Willow joins Angel and his team in LA to bring news of Buffy’s death, and sticks around for a little impromptu monster fighting. Meanwhile the rest of the Scooby gang remains in Sunnydale, facing off with a demon that has started attacking the girls in Tara’s choir.

After breaking the news to Angel and Co, Willow realizes that demons aren’t just the Sunnydale town mascot when she gets wrapped up in the hunt for a hitchhiking demon that’s stalking the Hyperion Hotel. She also gets a taste of how they do things in L.A. while helping out her old friends Wesley and Cordelia.

Back in Sunnydale, Tara is put in charge when a “Puce colored Barney” starts ripping out the throats of her choir members. Without Buffy or Willow, the gang scrambles to put a stop to things before it’s too late. While unbeknownst to them, an even greater threat has just arrived on the Hellmouth.

It couldn’t have been easy attempting to tell two separate stories within the show, but the BBtL crew pulled it off nicely. With “California Blonde” serving as a bumper to segue into the Los Angeles scenes, it was easy to separate the two stories and keep things organized. And on top of everything else, we were given a great storyline with one of the shows more secondary characters. Tara, who is often overlooked because of her quiet nature or overshadowed by her relationship with Willow, was unexpectedly shoved into a leadership role. And while somewhat hesitant at first, she showed that she could handle herself, and proved herself to be an intricate part of the Scoobies. Any show that can manage all that in 50 minutes is worth a listen.

Quote of the Episode Award goes to:

Xander: You’re the new bearer of the Dork Baton. I knight you Dame Dork of Dorkshire upon Nerdom.

“Buffy Meant More Than Being All Quiet” – Episode 1 Review

[Editor’s Note: Present Memory has been writing reviews of BBtL on LiveJournal so I asked her (and she graciously agreed) if we could post them here for you guys to enjoy! – Tabz]

A Review of Episode 1 – Beginning at the End

The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.

We all know the beautiful sacrifice that Buffy Summers made to save her sister and the world. Her gift. She saved the world. A lot. But what happened after? What was the Scooby Gang busy with during those months without the Slayer? How about dealing with a menacing group of demon…bunnies?

Episode one of Buffy Between the Lines, “Beginning at the End,” does just that. Beginning directly Buffy’s death, the group begins to pick up the pieces, saying goodbye to their beloved friend and trying to make sense of the world without her.

But life on the Hellmouth waits for no one, and the Scoobies find themselves facing Doc, the demon who just won’t die, and a hoard of evil demon bunnies summoned by Andrew Wells (who was hiding safely in the closet.)

In just forty-five minutes, we’re given back story, answers to unanswered questions, a brand new character, and enough witty dialogue to fill the Joss shaped hole in all of our hearts.

What amazed me the most about this episode was all the groundwork that writer Tabitha Grace Smith was able to lay for future episodes. Not just for this awesome audio drama, but for the show as well. She showed us how lost Willow felt without her best friend, leading up to the spell which will bring the slayer back for Season Six. We got a glimpse of the nightmares that Spike spoke of, and a chance to see the inner turmoil of Rupert Giles through entries in his watcher diaries. And if you listen closely you might even catch a reference or two to the Buffy Season Eight comic series.

This show is a real treat for any Buffy fan that has been searching for more of their favorite slayer since the show ended its run in 2003. It’s already fantastic, and it’s only going to get better. The cast and crew deserve massive thanks for the enormous amount of effort and love they’ve put into bringing Buffy Between the Lines to life.

Quote of the Episode Award goes to:

Tara: We’re going to miss how you made us more. More than just—just friends. We’re family. Thanks for making us your family.

Copyright © Buffy Between the Lines
A fan audio drama that tells what happens between the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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