Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buffy Blogthrough: 1.12 "Prophecy Girl"

Parenthood has slowed both my TV watching and my writing. It's way past time to get back into both habits!

1.12 “Prophecy Girl”
broadcast:  June 2, 1997
writer:  Joss Whedon
director:  Joss Whedon
The season finale is early Whedon at his best―not incidentally, it's also his directing debut. He manages the climax of the romantic rectangle with particular elegance: Willow turns Xander down in one emotionally fulfilling scene, and later Xander invites his rival Angel to help him rescue Buffy. Their actions mirror Buffy's maturity in facing the Master despite a deadly prophecy. Her reaction upon hearing that fate is the episode's peak, and her subsequent resurrection feels like a reward. But to evaluate “Prophecy Girl” honestly, the battle royale of the back half feels anticlimactic. The witticisms pale (“Oh look, a bad guy!”?), the combat is hard to follow, and the tentacles that wave from the Hellmouth suggests that the budget has been exhausted. Maybe the over-earnest heroics need more time than they're given. Instead, Whedon spends that time resolving character conflicts, a gesture that sets Buffy apart.