Episode title: What’s My Line Part 1
Original air date: November 17, 1997
“I aspire to help my fellow man. Check. As long as he’s not smelly, dirty, or something gross.” – Cordelia
The first half of a two parter and honestly it another ho-hum episode this week as Spike calls in a trio of assassins from the “Order of Taraka” to eliminate Buffy.
The issues with two part episodes is that you usually have the slow build-up of the first episode as the scene is set and pieces are moved into place ready for the payoff in the second part. Why they choose to split this story into two parts however is unclear and seems to only have been done so that the ending of this first part (which I will get to later) would have more of an impact. The main issue here though is that none of the characters have anything particularly interesting to do this week as you get the sneaking suspicion that everyone is just killing time while they wait for something to happen.
Opening to Buffy, Xander and Willow being cohered into attending the school career fair as part of Buffy’s attempts to stay off Principle Snyder’s radar as he continues to brand her as a trouble maker. It’s a scene which allow you to find out what Scoobies might do after school, with Xander being ear marked to be a prison officer and Buffy to work in the police force, so hopfully this pleased the small number of fans who’d been clamouring to find out this information. Interestingly Buffy in the comics would go on to be part of an police Vampire task force. What the scene does give us however is the first meeting between Oz and Willow after the numerous missed opportunities to meet this pair have had with his offer of canapes after they both find themselves headhunted by a software company being such a great way to introduce them to each other.
Perhaps its only more of a reinforcement that the writers didn’t really have a clue what to do in this episode that we get a drawn out but still fun to watch ice skating sequence performed by Sarah Michelle Gellar herself. Intrestingly Julie Benz who played “Darla” was at one point a top ranked skater and had her character not been dusted in the first season, it would have been fun to have seen the two do a scene together on the ice….or maybe I just want to see “Buffy The Vampire Slayer – On Ice!
The “Order of Taraka” are an interesting plot device seeing how they are a society of assassins and which essentially enables to show writers to include in the show any number of interesting villains that they didn’t think they could write a whole episode for. Sadly this two parter would be their only appearance but at least we do get to meet in this episode two of the three assassins given the contract to kill Buffy. The first of which is a one eyed man who gets the prestigious honour of being one of the few humans killed by Buffy as he finds himself on the wrong end of her ice skates. More interestingly though is the second assassin known only as “Suitman” no doubt due to him looking like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” and who has the ability to turn his body into a mass of worms.
So what about the third assassin you’re no doubt asking? Well this is the smart part of the episode we are introduced to Kendra the second slayer who initially is portrayed as being the third assassin as she introduced in the episode arriving into Sunnydale hiding in the luggage hold of an airplane before she reveals herself as being “Kendra The Vampire Slayer” following an exciting brawl with Buffy though the reason why she chooses to attack Buffy is not revealed in this episode and if she thinks that Buffy is a vampire why is she attempting to kill her with a hatchet?
The ending is probably the best part of the episode as it ends on a great cliff hanger with Buffy and Kendra facing off and Angel trapped by Kendra in a storage cage beside two windows when it’s getting close to sunrise, though why he has such trouble getting out of such a flimsy cage is unclear especially when we have seen vampires tear open a steel door a couple of episodes ago in “Lie To Me” so why does this cage pose him such an issue to get out of?
So will Angel get dusted? Who will prove themselves to be the alpha slayer? How will the Scoobies deal with a man made of worms and will we ever find out who the third assassin is? Find out next week!
Next Episode: What’s My Line Part 2