Director: Bruce Seth Green / Writer: Matt Kiene, Joe Reinkemeyer
Air date: 7 April 1997
I’ve always loved the soundtrack in Buffy, particularly Far’s ‘Job’s Eyes’ that they used for the slow-motion pack sequence. It gets an extra star for that. Otherwise it’s a fairly mundane instalment, interesting in that it shows Xander, who has been a bit of a dick to Willow so far, is actually a nice guy. But on the whole, not great.
Director: Scott Brazil / Writer: David Greenwalt
Air date: 14 April 1997
Years before Bella and Edward were even a glimmer in Stephenie Meyer’s eye, Buffy had Angel. They’re still far better. I remember this episode being quite a shock at the time – it’s hard to recapture that, given Angel’s history in the show and its wider reach, but when he looks up with his game face… well, it’s still pretty iconic as a moment.
‘I Robot… You Jane’
Director: Stephen Posey / Writer: Ashley Gable, Thomas A Swyden
Air date: 28 April 1997
Silly, silly, silly. As previously mentioned, the dialogue is absolutely atrocious in this episode, as is the Power Rangers-style villain. Willow’s story is an interesting enough comment on the dangers of hormonal obsession and a none-too-veiled comment about not really knowing who you’re talking to anonymously, but there’s not a lot else here, apart from a sad ‘suicide’ scene.
‘The Puppet Show’
Director: Ellen S Pressman / Writer: Rob Des Hotel, Dean Batali
Air date: 5 May 1997
“Limber… nubile.” This episode had some great dialogue, and a nice twist in that the puppet was actually one of the good guys. Creepy, yes, but a good guy nonetheless. It also wins points for a fantastic final scene, a small moment of humour that reminds you why the show is actually quite good still, and was so far ahead of its time.
Director: Bruce Seth Green / Writer: Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt
Air date: 12 May 1997
Along with the finale, this is probably my favourite episode of the season. It’s shot really nicely by Bruce Seth Green, it’s quite funny despite some serious subjects being tackled, and it’s quite cool that they made Buffy a vampire. Fanfiction suddenly had an adrenaline shot, at any rate.
‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind’
Director: Reza Badiyi / Writer: Joss Whedon, Ashley Gable, Thomas A Swyden
Air date: 19 May 1997
I’m fairly ambivalent to this episode as a whole, although for a teen horror drama it had some good moments of tension. Continuing with the series’ theme of alienation and isolation to a real extreme, it also had a great epilogue, which I thought really was a classic moment of Joss Whedon’s genius.
Director: Joss Whedon / Writer: Joss Whedon
Air date: 2 June 1997
A lot of people dislike the finale, and there are a few ridiculous moments in it. Buffy not drowning, for one, and the silly walk towards the school with the theme music blasting out in the background for another. There are some excellent parts though, such as Buffy’s “I’m 16 years old, I don’t want to die,” moment, the massacre in the AV room, and the delightfully low budget Hellmouth/Lovecraft monster.
Read the other entries in this series: