Good evening, friends and foes, and welcome to the latest instalment of The Buffy Binge. I am working my way through the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and blogging about them, because this fictional realm of the undead is more soothing than what is happening in our own dark timeline. They go up every Thursday at 6:45, and you can read the rest here.
Series One, Episode Three – Witch
It’s not just vampires in Sunnydale! There’s also WITCHES. And cheerleaders.
After last week’s plot-packed openers, this episode establishes the signature Buffy “monster of the week” format. Every week, a demon, and every week, some peril, some wisecracks, some running around and a resolution.
It’s cheerleading tryouts at Sunnydale High! Buffy wants to be a cheerleader, like she was when life was normal and she didn’t have to spend every evening running around giving dead guys wood. Other girls also want this, including a new character called Nice Amy and our favourite, Awful Cordelia. One by one, the girls who make the team get horribly cursed, including Buffy. Gadzooks! Who would do such a thing. It is Nice Amy, whose mom has taken over her body in order to get on the team and relive her teen queen glory days again. Buffy does not think this is a good enough excuse for body-hijack and cursing a load of girls, so she fucks her up.
Identity. Mother/daughter conflict. Cheerleading.
“I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away.” – Xander
“Why would someone want to hurt Cordelia?” – Giles
“Maybe because they met her?” – Willow
When Cordelia is having a driving lesson in the middle of the school day (wtf America?? In England you have to work your arse off at a Saturday job in Safeway for months to save up for lessons. They don’t give you free healthcare, but they give you this?) and she goes dramatically blind while driving a car full of screaming girls.
When they find the witches lair but they don’t really have the budget yet, so it’s just, like, a bucket of mushy peas and some disfigured Barbies.
At the end where Buffy kicks a mirror into play at the exact second Amy’s mom is going to curse her all up, so the spell rebounds on her and she gets TRAPPED IN HER OWN CHEERLEADING TROPHY FOREVER!! This mirror trick is always so narratively satisfying, because the villain gets just exactly what they deserve – the thing they were going to do to you!
What Can We Learn?
A reiteration of last week’s lesson – nerd are nice, cool kids are awful. Never moving on from high school is totally tragic, and will lead to you getting imprisoned in a tiny figurine.
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