Recently finished watching Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is so much sex in this season – everyone, including Giles, is getting laid I now think of this as season fornicate. This is also the season when I gave up on it when it was first broadcast. Buffy’s emotionally vulnerability was, to me, forced & distracting. There was hardly any vampires slain either. Lots of demons though. I didn’t buy into the military complex plot line – government conspiracy is so X-Files, it was tepid at best.
Some episodes suffered from too many characters & the writers never found a balance between them. At times it felt like they were given dialogue that kept them on screen as opposed to adding to the plot. At least they dropped the one trope I hated – you know the one in which no one believes there are vampire etc. This season everyone in Sunnyvale acknowledges there are evil forces at work.
The season has some of the worse episodes (so far) of the series. “Beer Bad” being one, the other, for me, was “Pangs” the Thanksgiving episode that is so embarrassing I was ready to give up again on season 4. But I’m glad I stuck with it because there were also some of the best written & performed eps as well.
The departure of Oz was emotionally resonant but (spoiler alert) he returns before the end of the season for another great episode. In fact some of the best episodes involved returning characters. Ethan Raine does things to Giles in “A New Man” that were thrilling to see. Danny Strong shines in “Superstar” a brilliant episode. Faith surfaces again in a well plotted & emotionally satisfying two-parter.
Adam as a villain never felt like a threat. The shenanigans of The Initiative – the military complex were predictable & left me feeling ‘who cares’ though Lindsay Crouse as the evil doctor was always a joy to watch. I was sorry to see her dispatched without a real face off with Buffy.
It took the writers ten episodes or more to get their footing after the departure of Angel & Cordelia. Spike was to be the smart mouth but seemed totally wasted in every episode. Anya was the best addition to the gang & it was clear the writers loved writing for her.
There were some great stand alone episodes. “Hush” with the floating Gentlemen was creepy & fantastic; the abused children spirits, is “Where The Wild Things Are” seeking revenge was chilling as was the actress playing their ‘keeper.’ I’m hoping there a another episode in future seasons that deals with her.
The season did expand some of the Slayer mythos, as well giving us more a glimpse into the Watchers that I hope is explored more in future seasons. Willow became more of character, as opposed to a side-kick, as her magic powers & confidence grows. At times it felt more like the Witch Willow show than Buffy. Oh yes, Willow gets Tara – as a love interest. I still think it would have been more revolutionary if Zander got a boyfriend though say in the form of Forrest – as Forrest is clearly resents Riley switch of affection to a girl, namely Buffy.
Speaking of Forrest it was great to see a black character on Buffy in a recurring role. Though he was not a good guy he certainly made Riley seem almost interesting with the powerful gay subtext he was playing in all their scenes. Even in the final fight between them his motivation was more ‘how could you choose her over me’ than ‘I’m helping Adam conquer the world.’
By the end of the season I was glad I stuck with it even if there are some episode I wish I could un-watch. I was also missing the lack of vampire dustings. Come on she’s a vampire slayer – not a demon hunter. On to Season 5.
a man weeps on the subway
turns his face from us
with no corner to hide his tears
rubs a cell phone in his left hand
squeezing it as something to hold on to
glances at the screen
bumps his head on the window
harder and harder
should someone stop him
he lurches up
gets off at the next station
stares immobile as the train pulls out
was that even his stop
was he ashamed of strangers
seeing his sorrow
our eyes wanting more than they could see
was our pity curiosity inaction
too much more to bare
on top of what he wept about
his cell phone still where he sat
I pick it up look around
no one acknowledges what I have done
what should I do with it
try the numbers on it
track him down
did he abandon it leave his sorrow behind
I get off at my stop
take the cell with me
at home I press the right buttons
nothing lights up dead
my recharge cable doesn’t fit
I’m at a loss about what to do
suddenly it lights up rings
all I hear are
painful gut-wrenching sobs
October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up
September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org