Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Buffy Blogthrough: 1.10 "Nightmares"

Most mornings, to warm up my brain I write & edit 150 words on yesterday's entertainment — a TV episode, movie, news item, or whatever. Now that I've got Lady Hotspur watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I've decided to post these exercises so you & she can enjoy them too!

1.10 “Nightmares”
broadcast: May 12, 1997
writer: Joss Whedon (story) & David Greenwalt (teleplay)
director: Bruce Seth Green

Buffy has already flirted with dream-states—think of the fake-out that opens “Teacher's Pet”—but it makes a commitment in “Nightmares.” The plot is an afterthought, almost a means to an end: a comatose Little Leager accidentally conjures dreams into reality. The episode's tension, and it gets intense, is seeing what the characters truly fear. Some of their arcs are conventionally cathartic, like Xander punching a scary clown. Then there's Buffy's absentee father visiting Sunnydale to explain her role in her parents' divorce. Their conversation is staged without even a touch of surrealism; it's hard to tell whether it happened or not. The scene may be Gellar's strongest performance in all seven seasons. Plotwise, on the other hand, “Nightmares” is one of the series' slackest. It's a mirror image to the rest of Season One, abandoning the formula of well-made, socially-driven metaphors for a more formally adventurous style.

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