tx_cronopio (tx_cronopio) wrote in episodic_buffy,

2.08 The Dark Age

Xander: Giles lived for school. He's actually bitter that there are only twelve grades.
Buffy: He probably sat in math class thinking, 'There should be more math. This could be mathier.'
Willow: C'mon, you don't think he ever got restless as a kid?
Buffy: Are you kidding? His diapers were tweed.

Hi, it's tx_cronopio here! Many thanks to the moderator for the chance to guest-moderate, especially for The Dark Age, one of my favorite episodes.

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The Dark Age
Writer: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
Director: Bruce Seth Green
Airdate: 11-10-1997

So You're a Real Person, Are You?
Buffy: I'm not gonna lie to you. It was scary. I'm so used to you being a grownup, and then I find out that you're a person.
Giles: Most grownups are.

This episode signals some major developments in the relationship between Buffy and Giles. As far as I can recall, this is the first time he angrily shuts her out of some information that she needs to know. Did we see this coming? Who is right? Was Giles right to keep his past from Buffy as long as he did? Would it have eased her burden to know that he had struggled with his own duty as a watcher in his younger days? Does Buffy ever understand what it takes for Giles to confide in her the way he does in this episode? How does this foreshadow the changes to come in their relationship?

Don't Mess with Redheads
Willow: Hey! We don't have time for this! Our friends are in trouble! Now, we have to put our heads together and get them out! And if you two aren't with me a hundred and ten percent, then get the hell out of my library!

This is one of the first episodes where we sense how strong our Willow is becoming. It was signaled in Reptile Boy, when she rebuked Giles and Angel for their treatment of Buffy, but in that episode she instantly backed down, she "felt bad." She doesn't here. Did this episode make you think that Willow was meant for a future Watcher? If so, why do you think this idea died in favor of the witchcraft angle? How does this episode suggest future developments for Willow? Or was it just a plot device?

It All Comes Back To Bite You
Angel: I've had a demon inside me for a couple of hundred years...just waiting for a good fight.

This entire episode focuses on things, actions, beings, decisions from the past that turn up in the present to cause trouble and heartache. Truly a theme that will recur throughout the entire run of Buffy and Angel. Just for a sample, Ethan comes back, just two episodes after the pesky problems he caused in 2.06, Halloween. And he brings even worse tidings, the news that Giles' toying with Eyghon long ago had come back to hurt the people he loves. In a bit of foreshadowing, we see a hint of Angel's demon, which will come back to wreak havoc all too soon. How does the staging of the episode support this theme? How does this fit into the whole Ethan story arc? How does this fit into Giles' story? Do you see this as a recurring theme in S2? Or are these stand-alone episodes that some folks put too much meaning into?

You Only Hurt The One You Love
Jenny: I just love to see you squirm.
Giles: Yes, well, I, uh...trust I gave good...squirm.

This episode contains two huge transition points in the Giles/Jenny relationship...first, they acknowledge their sexual attraction, and then at the end, they are estranged by events. Were you surprised that our buttoned-up (at this point) Giles actually kissed her at school? Were you surprised that he still liked her after the Monster Truck Rally? What is your opinion of her reaction to him at the end? Were you surprised? Approving? What other points do you see in this episode that foreshadow the course of their relationship?

Other themes:
How does this episode contribute to canon re the Ethan/Giles backstory? Did you love or hate Xander's Uncle Rory speech? Do you see any foreshadowing in the danger of the use of Magicks? How do lies and mistruths continue to disrupt the Scoobies? Have you seen anything hotter than Xander and Cordelia's fight? How does this episode contribute to the continuing use of nightmares and fantasies (aka "anywhere but here") in the Jossverse?

In other notes, this is one of five scripts by Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel...the others are Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, The Puppet Show, Phases, and Killed by Death. A mixed bag to be sure. Do you see any common factors in these scripts?

And, one last trivia note, Dean Batali is now active in a group called Act One, a coalition of Christian TV writers who strive to make Hollywood reflect more Christian values in movies and TV. He has stated in interviews that he finds the idea of a teenager having sex with a vampire to be very "damaging." Discuss among yourselves
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