Episode title: What’s My Line Part 2
Original air date: November 24, 1997
“I Mock You With My Monkey Pants” – Oz
So last weeks episode ended on a cliffhanger with Angel being locked in a cage by Kendra and facing being dusted by the quickly approaching sunrise. Elsewhere Buffy was left dealing with the fact that Kendra was the second slayer, while also wondering when the remaining two assassins from the “Order of Taraka” hired by Spike were going to strike. It was a surprisingly busy time in Sunnydale in what was really a ho-hum episode so this second part really had a lot to make up for.
While things improves slightly this week it is still a pretty lacklustre climax which again feels more like the setup for larger story arcs than anything especially important to the episode itself as we open to Angel being handed over to Spike who plans to sacrifice him as part of his plan to cure Drusilla as he was her sire. Buffy and Kendra meanwhile are quickly able to get on the same page as each other, though it soon becomes clear that they both have very different approaches to their responsibility as the slayer. Elsewhere Xander and Cordelia are left hiding out in the basement of Buffy’s house when Cordelia unwittingly lets the shape changing assassin into the house.
Kendra is a character who could have been potentially an interesting addition to the series had she not been saddled from the start with a stupid Jamaican accent which occasionally lapses into an Irish one. It’s an irritation also shared by Bianca Lawson who openly shared her dislike for the doing the accent in interviews she did for the show. More interesting is the fact that she was also at one point set to play Cordelia only to lose out on the part to Charisma Carpenter. Accent issues aside she brings an interesting spin to the slayer role as she comes from a background of total dedication to her slayer training which has eliminated any life outside of her duties, compared to Buffy who has maintained a social life while having a less disciplined approach to her slaying. Needless to say Giles bonds quickly with the new slayer especially with her strong work ethic while highlighting many of the things he’s given up trying to get Buffy to study such as “The Slayer Handbook”. Her appearance in this episode really provides some great moments including Buffy contemplating whether she should hang up stakes and allow Kendra to take over from her. Its also interesting to watch the influence they have on each other with Buffy going through a change of sorts as she matures into her responsibilities as the slayer while Kendra realises the importance of having people outside of slaying to care about.
The moment I loved though was Buffy’s reaction to finding out how Kendra’s slayer abilities were activated, as she attempts to defend the fact that she was only dead for a minute, which seemingly is all it takes to screw up a thousand year legacy of slayers. However its frustratingly that its never explained why her death and activation of a new slayer didn’t cause her to lose her powers / abilities.
If anything these is a lot of relationship growth for most of the characters this week as the connection between Angel, Spike and Drusilla is further established especially with Angel being her sire which Angel plays up in an attempt to aggravate Spike with the relationship between a vampire and their sire it would seem holding as much importance (if not more) than the romantic connection that Spike and Drusilla have. On the more random side we also get the start of the surprise relationship between Cordelia and Xander, the randomness of this situation amusingly played up for maximum comedic effect as they engage in heated name calling before suddenly making out as cheesy orchestral music plays in the background. Honestly I feel this might have been the best way of introducing their relationship especially when it comes completely by surprise let alone so out of leftfield.
Action wise there is an attempt to kick things up a notch with the third assassin finally being revealed and while she comes with a pair of “Assassin Creed” wrist blades fails to provide anything as special as the first two as your left feeling like they just phoned this plot point in. We also have an impressive church showdown between the Scoobies and Spike’s minions which outside of a few spots were the stun performers are clearly handling the fight scene still manages to be fun for the fact that it’s the first time we get to see two slayers in action at the same time, while its climax was originally meant to see the death of Spike when Buffy drops a church organ on him. However Joss Wheldon would scrap this idea in favour of leaving him crippled and confined to a wheelchair instead, which in the long run would prove to be the best decision more so when his character would be involved in so many key moments in the series ahead let alone his growth as a character. As such it’s a great final shot to see a cured Drusilla carrying him out of the wreckage of the church and even though she is essentially the same character only now with her vampire face, there’s a real sense of her being much more of a threat than she had been until now which is really is a credit to Juliet Landau’s performance. On the downside the worm guy assassin is killed off in far too shlocky a way involving glue and him being stomped on by Cordelia and Xander. This is such a weak ending for such a cool character, especially when they could have disposed of him in so many cooler ways such as via flamethrower or a vacuum than the death they ultimately went with here.
While this episode is an improvement over the previous episode, it’s still far from the best episode on the show and really serves as I’ve covered already to drive the series forward and develop character relationships making it less than essential for the more casual viewer.
Next Episode: Ted