Saturday, May 7, 2011

Classics: BtVS 5:3 - The Replacement

Overall Rating: 8.9

We wub Xander here at RightFans...and this episode begins taking Xander in the right direction toward finding his self confidence, his inner strength, and his place in the world.

Plot Synopsis:

The details of this fun plot can be found here - thanks to

The Skinny:

Several very important plot developments to speak of bullet point format:
  • Riley really does love Buffy...but the writers are doing a good job setting up the reality that to Buffy, Riley is just Mr. Right Place at the Right Time...she has no deeper feelings for him - just a desire to be with someone and feel normal. This is not actually that uncommon for people her age. I think that many relationships for college students form and die for the same reason - people think they SHOULD be dating...they want to have experiences they're simply not ready for...and they choose someone to be with who doesn't truly change the way they think about the world the way "the one" should.
  • Anya's "new human" perspective with all of its' blunt honesty and (to us) silly fears and obsessions is among the best-written elements of seasons 4-7 in the BuffyVerse. This week, she's realizing she's vulnerable and mortal. This is the exaggerated representation of what we all go through when we get hurt at a vulnerable age (young enough to have run far short of our life's goals and old enough to be beyond our own believe in our immortality).
  • Xander gets a monstervision-style proof that he is more than a geeky man-child still trying to find adulthood. It turns out, he's a good construction worker, a leader, and, when he believes in his abilities, an attractive and mature alpha-male figure. For all of his awkwardness and, yes, geeky tendencies...there's a strong and increasingly impressive young man in the making.
  • Love the foreshadowing hints about Joyce's impending brain cancer.
  • Love the writers' robust use of comedy as well.
Writing: 8.2

The comedy sometimes heads a little to the left of Cornball Avenue, but I like corniness. YMMV. As for the main plot - this one pays bigger dividends later, but even now, it's a nice little plot.

Acting: 9.5

Nicholas Brendan's dual role playing was brilliant all around - it's actually rather difficult to be two different shades of the same person (to be realistically Xander twice over and yet different enough to be separable in the eyes of the audience). Alyson Hannigan and Emma Caulfield were also adorable in their own ways.

Message: 9.0

I think we all have some divide between the logical center of our own self-confidence and the illogical domain of self-doubt and internal criticism. They could have made this into a Buffy episode if they'd chosen to do so. It would have been different, but it would have carried a similar message. We are not multiple people sharing one body. We are one person with many facets. Each facet is naturally a drop in the ocean. The balanced mixture makes the identity that interacts with the world, but the pieces, taken individually would still be us. The soul is indivisible.


BUFFY: You can't blame me for being critical. I mean, Willow's that way when we watch a movie about witches, right Xander?
XANDER: (distracted by his parents fighting loudly upstairs) What? Oh, yeah. She's all like, "A cauldron? Who uses a cauldron these days?"
CUT TO: Demon guy using a big cauldron...LOL

XANDER: Guys, don't get your hopes up...we're just looking. I might not get it.
ANYA: But you have references.
XANDER: No...I have Karl...which is just me doing a very important sounding voice. (does a ridiculous accented voice) "Xander Harris? Oh yes...excellent tenant! Very handsome fellow, too!"

ANYA: We can have the scooby meetings in the living room. And Giles can explain the boring things...over there. (LOL)

AGENT: I brought a copy of your application.
XANDER: Application? I can't just...tell you my references?
AGENT: We run your credit check based on your application.
XANDER: check...gonna check on the old credit ay? See how credible my checks are. (awkward laughter is shared by all).
AGENT: Plus we'll be asking for first and last month's rent and a security deposit, the total's at the bottom of the sheet there.
ANYA: (after only briefly glancing at the figure) He'll take it. Xander, you go get the furniture. (to the agent) He's been living in his drunken parents' basement where a cat urinated on the hot plate. (awesome, Anya...LOL)

ANYA: So when I want to visit you, I have to be in that awful basement?
XANDER: Not forever. Just until things come together.
ANYA: ANd when will that be? I mean, because right now, things seem pretty un-together...and you can't expect me to just wait around for...
XANDER: Quiet! Please...what is this? What's going on with you?
ANYA: What's going on is that my arm hurts...and I'm tired...and I don't feel like going on the tour of beautiful things that I can't have! (I really love the way her character is written)

WILLOW: That's oofta...goddess of child birth. She's got some nice heft to her.
GILES: Yes, well...
BUFFY: So how badly did you hurt him?
GILES: Well hurt isn't the right word, I don't think...
WILLOW: But I'm sure you startled him! (smiles awkwardly)
GILES: Yes, I'd imagine it gave him a turn.
BUFFY: He ran, huh?
GILES: Well...more...turned and swept out majestically is more like it. He said I didn't concern him.
BUFFY: So a mythic conquest over an indifferent foe.
GILES: Well I'm not dead or unconscious so I say bravo for me! (LOL!)

BUFFY: Relax...another day another demon.
RILEY: Right...of course. It'll be good. (still seems unconvinced)
BUFFY: Hey...(she kisses him to try to loosen him up but is interrupted by the sound of Dawn making gagging noises).
DAWN: I knew a girl who's friend died from choking on a guy's tongue. Just thought you might like to know. (BHHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!)

XANDER: Welcome to payback, Mr. evil plan face stealing monster-freak! You take my get my being fired absolutely free. (he laughs and is then whacked in the face by the porta-potty door...heh)

XANDER: Anya...look I know you're still mad at me...but I think I know're probably sitting there listening, pretending you're not home.
ANYA: (sitting there listening, pretending not to be home) Am not. (LOL!)

XANDER: Willow, don't be scared...but it's me...Xander. And I can prove it.
WILLOW: Oh...OK. (obviously amused already)
XANDER: Let's see...stuff only you and I would know. On my seventh birthday, I wanted a fire truck, and my parents didn't give me one. And then that night, the house next door caught fire and real fire trucks came. For years, I thought you set the fire for me! And if you did, you can tell me. Oh...last year, I thought I might be getting lactose intolerant, but it turned out to be some bad brie. Oh! I know...every Christmas, we watch the Charlie Brown special and I do the happy dance! (does a dance that FLOORS me...completely hilarious)
WILLOW: Xander...stop dancing! (LOL)

BUFFY: Toth.
XANDER: Yeah...Toth...
BUFFY: It has to be! Remember, he hit Xander with that creepy stick thing...maybe it somehow allowed him to take Xander's form. Couldn't that be what the stick did?
GILES: Yes...I suppose it could be. A shape shifting device?
BUFFY: It makes sense, right?
XANDER: does make sense...
(other Xander talking to Willow now)
XANDER: It's a robot! An evil robot constructed of evil parts to look like me do evil!! (BHAHAHAHAAA!!!)
WILLOW: Uh's Toth.
XANDER: Or, it's Toth!

WILLOW: I'll find a spell to snap her out of it.
XANDER: Right. Whatever.
WILLOW: sound a have to help me with this, you know.
XANDER: But I never help. I get in trouble and then Buffy saves me.
WILLOW: That's not true! Sometimes we ALL help to save you. (LOL!) And sometimes you're not in trouble...

XANDER: It's just another humiliation...and this time it's even worse!
XANDER: Well, I mean it's like...he's taking my life...and everyone's treating him like...well like a grown up. Sometimes I think...
XANDER: Maybe I should just let him have it. Take my life...please!
WILLOW: Xander, no! You're just tired and all soggy. That's why this seems so hard right now...but you can't just let this guy take your whole existance! There's gotta be something worth sticking around for!
XANDER: Like what? It's not like I've been doing anything great with my life so far. I mean when I get to the pearly gates, St. Peter isn't going to say "bitchin' comic book collection, come on in!" I mean what do I have that...Anya!
WILLOW: You think he might be after her?
XANDER: She won't know. He could just walk right up! He can take anything else, but he can't have her...I need her!
WILLOW: Really?? (LOL)
XANDER: He could be there now...I gotta warn find something revealy!
WILLOW: Xander've know this whole time that there was a double of you and you just thought of Anya now?
XANDER: Wait til you have an evil twin...let's see how you handle it. (he runs off)
WILLOW: I handled it fine... (LOL!!)

ANYA: So what happens next?
XANDER: Well at some point we take off our clothes. (pffft)
ANYA: I mean...what happens next in our lives?
XANDER: What do you mean?
ANYA: Well...when do we get a car?
XANDER: A car?
ANYA: And a don't mean a boat...I mean a puppy...or a child...I have a list somewhere.
XANDER: Why is this coming up now?
ANYA: Just...we have to get moving!
XANDER: Calm down, Anya...there's no hurry.
ANYA: Yes there is! There's a hurry, Xander. I'm dying! I may have as few as fifty years left! (LOL...awww)
XANDER: Fifty years...what is...oh wait a minute. This is about this (points to the sling).
ANYA: Not about the sling.
XANDER: You haven't been hurt like this since you became human. Maybe it's finally hitting you what being human means. (ah insightful Xander...he was there all along).

GILES: Oh dear lord.
RILEY: Our Xander...did he seem a little...
BUFFY: He was really forceful...confident...
WILLOW: That's not Xander! (LOL)
GILES: I said oh dear lord!
BUFFY: You always say that.
GILES: Well it's always important! (LOL!)

BUFFY: you wish...
BUFFY: No? You don't even know what I was gonna say.
RILEY: Yes. I do. You wanted to know whether some part of me wished you'd gotten hit with the stick and split into two.
BUFFY: have been kind of wrankly about the whole slayer thing. Instead of having Slayer Buffy, you could have Buffy Buffy.
RILEY: I have Buffy Buffy. Being the Slayer is part of who you are. You keep thinking I don't get that, but...
BUFFY: I could understand though...bad hours, random bruising, cranky monsters...
RILEY: If you didn't have this calling, you wouldn't be half as crazy as you are. I gotta have that...I gotta have it all. We're talking toes, elbows, strange bad ice-skating movie obsession...there's no part of you that I'm not in love with. (awww...)

RILEY: You're both Xander.
BUFFY: And we can prove it.
RILEY: Yeah. How exactly?
BUFFY: Um...oh...what number am I thinking of?
RILEY: I don't think that's gonna do it.
BOTH XANDERS: Eeleven and a half.
BUFFY: Wrong...oh...but see?
XANDER1: But he has a thing..a shiny disk that stuns and disorients!
XANDER2: What disk? This? (takes a coin out of his pocket)
XANDER1: Don't look at it! It'll melt your brains!!! (LOLOL!!!)
XANDER2: It's a nickel someone flattened on the railroad track. I found it on the job site...thought it was cool.
BUFFY: Xander...look...(she hands goofy Xander the coin)
XANDER1: Oh...I guess it is kinda cool...(LOL)

RILEY: Psychologically, this is fascinating. Doesn't it make everyone want to lock them in separate rooms and do experiments on them? (everyone looks at him like he's insane) Just me then. (LOL)

ANYA: Xanders really have the same memories...all the same...physical attributes?
XANDER2: We're completely identical. (Anya seems giddy)
XANDER1: Yeah, we checked out some stuff in the car on the way over. (everyone stops and gawks for a second...he then realizes his error) Fingerprints! (LOL)
ANYA: Maybe we shouldn't do this recombining spell right away. I mean...I could...take the boys home and...we could all have sex together....and you know...just slap 'em back together in the morning!
XANDER1: She's joking.
XANDER2: No she's not! She totally wants us to have sex together...which would be wrong...and...very confusing.
GILES: OK, we just need to set up these candles. Also, we should all continue to pretend that we heard none of the disturbing sex talk. (ROTFLSHIAD!!)

ANYA: Oooh! Gifts?
XANDER: Not unless you want my collection of Babylon Five commemorative plates. Which you canNOT have. Just thought you might like to help carry something.
ANYA: Me...but...Buffy has super-strength. Why don't we just load her up like one of those carnival mules?
XANDER: Anya, please.
ANYA: Alright...fine. I'm just your slave. (LOL)

RILEY: Hey I know how lucky I am to be with Buffy. When I'm with her, I feel like I'm split in two. Half of me is just on fire...going crazy if I'm not touching her. The other half is completely still. Content. It knows that she's the one. Yep. There's no one in the world like Buffy. But she doesn't love me. (ouch)

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