Hey, all. "Moriarty" here. As much as I love all things BUFFY, I have to disagree with HERCULES THE STRONG regarding tonight's season finale. First of all, spoilers abound here, so run if you don't want to know everything. I thought that the dream structure of the show made sense in a theoretical way, and I'm all for learning about the origins of the First Slayer. However, I thought that the execution of the episode was almost entirely a botch. There's one moment (Giles singing again) that made me honk with laughter, and I thought there was about three minutes of good scare scattered throughout the piece, but beyond that, it felt flat to me. I adore the final two-part episode of THE PRISONER, and that's what "Restless" felt like it was trying to be. It just never quite connected. Of course, that's just my opinion, and one misfire doesn't change my rabid love for this, the best show on TV. Now here's HERC to argue the episode's case.
BUFFY SPOILER FAQ 4.22
WHAT’S THE TITLE?
WHO WROTE IT?
“Buffy” creator and guiding mastermind Joss Whedon, who also directed.
I HEAR IT STARTS ODDLY. TRUE?
True. The teaser comes AFTER the title sequence, rather than the usual reverse.
NOW THAT THE INTIATIVE IS NO MORE, IS RILEY OFF THE SHOW NEXT SEASON?
Doesn’t look like it. As the episode begins, he and Buffy are exploring each other’s lips fairly determinedly. Riley will, however, be quitting his night job; he hints that he’ll be getting an honorable discharge in return for his silence. As the episode begins, he is taking temporary leave of the Scoobs to participate in a Pentagon debriefing.
IS “RESTLESS” ONE OF THE FUNNY ONES?
The funniest. There’s a sight gag in the first 120 seconds that actually made me yelp. I also thoroughly enjoyed, among many many other things, Anya’s truck-driving technique.
IS IT GREAT IN OTHER WAYS?
I’m pleased to report that “Restless” is one of the finest “Buffys” in the history of Things Buffy. It will, one suspects, prove monstrously important to the series’ mythos. Like certain episodes of “The Prisoner” and “Twin Peaks” and “Mannix” before it, this installment will serve for decades as fodder for scholarly debate. (Speaking of “Peaks”, the episode seems at times to be a deliberate homage to the David Lynch/Mark Frost TV drama, complete with cryptic Little Nemo dialogue and White-Lodgey scarlet drapes – not to mention a bald, bespectacled man who keeps popping up in the company of cheese slices.) As a bonus, a lot of familiar elements pop up in the Dreaming, including Principal Snyder, Spike squeeze Harmony Kendall, Joyce Summers, big chunks of Adam, and Daniel “Oz” Osborne (but, sadly, NOT Cordy Chase).
HOW ABOUT A COMMON-SENSE VIEWING TIP, HERC?
I would strongly recommend taping “Restless” for repeated viewings. There’s an enormous amount of material to assimilate. Some of it doubtlessly provides vital foreshadowing. A lot of it is just probably really amusing.
IT HAS BEEN RUMORED THAT SOMEBODY IMPORTANT DIES IN THIS ONE. TRUE?
False. No major characters meet their demise in any way.
IT HAS BEEN RUMORED THAT THIS ONE’S A CLIFFHANGER. TRUE?
False. As the episode ends, there are no pressing conflicts to resolve. Just a great deal to think about.
WHEN THE EVIL SLAYER FAITH WOKE FROM HER COMA EARLIER THIS SEASON, SHE SAID “LITTLE SISTER’S COMING.” IS IT TRUE, AS RUMORED, THAT WE LEARN WHO THIS LITTLE SISTER IS?
I’m reasonably certain Faith was referring to herself. In Tuesday’s episode, we do meet the cavegirl-like “first slayer” - but SHE would be “big sister,” wouldn’t she?
SO WHAT’S IT ABOUT, ANYWAY?
Exhausted from their victorious battle against Adam and Co., the four core Scoobies gather at Buffy’s house to watch home videos, but end up nodding off on the couch. Each of the episode’s four acts is devoted to a different character’s anxiety dream -- first Willow’s, then Xander’s, Giles’, and finally Buffy’s. As each becomes vaguely aware of something scary stalking them in their sleep, we learn all sorts of secrets about our heroes.
WHICH ASPECTS OF THE DREAMS MIGHT PROVOKE THE MOST DISCUSSION ON TALKBACK?
A few nocturnal highlights:
* During an intimate moment of body calligraphy, Tara confides to Willow: “You don’t know everything about me.”
* Harmony, on stage between a cowboy-suited Riley and a Louise-Brooks-looking Buffy, asks Riley, “Why have you come to our lonely small town, which has no post office, and very few exports?”
* We learn Xander seems to have the hots for Buffy’s mom, and is in no way disapproving of Willow and Tara’s relationship.
* Spike, dressed identically to Giles and sitting in broad daylight, tells Xander, “Giles here is going to teach me to be a watcher. Says I got the stuff.” Adds a smiling Giles: “Spike is like a son to me.” Replies Xander: “That’s good. I was into that for a while, but I got other stuff goin’ on.”
* Xander tells Buffy: “You can’t protect yourself from - some stuff.” Replies Buffy: “I’m way ahead of you, big brother.” Xander: “Brother?”
* But the most intriguing stuff comes with Buffy’s dream:
(Buffy is back home, standing over her old, unmade bed.)
BUFFY: Faith and I just made that bed.
FEMALE VOICE: For whom?
BUFFY: I thought you were here to tell me.
(Buffy looks over, and we see she’s talking to Tara.)
BUFFY: The guys aren’t here are they? We were going to hang out and watch movies.
TARA: You lost them.
BUFFY: No, no, I think they need me to find them.
(Buffy looks at her alarm clock: 7:30 a.m.)
BUFFY: It’s so late!
TARA: Oh! That clock’s completely wrong! Here.
(Tara hands Buffy a tarot card: “Manos” – the hands)
BUFFY: I’m never going to use those.
TARA: You think you know. What’s to come. What you are. You haven’t even begun.
(Buffy glances at her bed. It’s been made again.)
BUFFY: I think I need to go find the others.
TARA: Be back before dawn.
(Buffy is then in a UCSunnydale corridor, when she spots her mom through a crude hole in the wall.)
JOYCE: Oh, hi honey!
BUFFY: Why are you living in the walls?
JOYCE: Oh, sweetie, no, I’m fine here! Don’t worry about me.
BUFFY (surveying the hole distastefully): It looks dirty.
JOYCE: Well, it seems that way to you. I made some lemonade and I’m learning how to play mah-jong. You go – find your friends.
BUFFY: I think they may be in danger.
(Joyce suddenly can’t stop giggling.)
JOYCE: I’m sorry dear. A mouse is playing with my knees.
BUFFY: I really don’t think you should live in there.
JOYCE: Well. You could probably break through the wall…
(But Buffy is distracted by something else. She enters a windowless room with leather chairs, a glass table and a map. Riley is sitting across from the man who became the human part of Adam. They are both wearing ties. There’s a gun on the table.)
RILEY: Hey there, killer.
BUFFY: Riley? You’re back?
RILEY: I never left.
BUFFY: How did your debriefing go?
RILEY: It went great. They made me surgeon general.
BUFFY: Why didn’t you come and tell me? We could have celebrated.
RILEY: Oh. We’re drawing up a plan for world domination. Key element? Coffee makers that think!
BUFFY: World domination? Is that a good?
RILEY: Baby, we’re the government. It’s what we do.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE ADAM: She’s uncomfortable with certain concepts. It’s understandable. Aggression is a natural human tendency. Though you and I come by it another way.
BUFFY: We’re not demons.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE ADAM: Is that a fact?
RILEY: Buffy, we’ve got important work here. A lot of filing. Giving things names.
BUFFY (to T.M.W.W.B.A.): What was yours?
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE ADAM: Before Adam? Not a man among us can remember.
(Warning lights bathe the room.)
PRE-RECORDED VOICE: The demons have escaped. Please run for your lives.
(Riley and T.M.W.W.B.A. stand urgently)
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE ADAM: This could be trouble.
RILEY: We better make a fort.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE ADAM: I’ll get some pillows.
HOW DOES IT END?
Buffy learns the stalker is the spirit of the primitive “first slayer” - who doesn’t like the fact that Buffy’s begun sharing her powers with her friends. We learn Tara has been speaking for the first slayer (who isn’t good with words). Buffy defeats the stalker by essentially dismissing her as the dream she is. Everyone wakes up, Joyce makes hot cocoa, and Buffy remembers Tara’s words as she passes her old bedroom: “You think you know. What’s to come. What you are. You haven’t even begun.”
WASN’T IT REALLY FUNNY WHEN SPIKE OFFHANDEDLY REFERRED TO ADAM AS “MR. BITS” A COUPLE WEEKS AGO.
It sure was. It’s been a great year.
WHAT’S HERC’S RATING FOR THE FOURTH SEASON FINALE OF “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER?”
Quiet! You’ll miss the humorous conclusion!