You're getting sleepy...so sleepy...you're in a tranquil place...a place called...Riley Finn's character. It's so beige and uninspired it can only have come from fourth season.
A full description of this tepid episode can be found at BuffyGuide.com.
The goofy fangirls and fanboys that wrote the reviews at BuffyGuide.com are hardly role models for excellent discourse on the subject of Joss Whedon's first and most successful canon universe, but in this case, I think they're actually right for two separate reasons at the same time (!) and...you know...I don't think that's ever happened before. This episode fails for two main reason:
- Riley is freakin' BORING. We never learned anything about him...I don't think we were supposed to learn something about him, because, to Joss and company, he was just a stand-in for normalcy, not the poster-boy. If they wanted Buffy to have a relationship with a corn-fed Iowan demon fighter with a good heart, they should have made that Iowan STAND FOR SOMETHING...they should have given him a character...not made him a pop-up punching clown for a point they wanted to make about Buffy being too unique and powerful to fit with a normal guy. There's something very aristocratic and anti-message (the show has always taken the position that although Buffy has superpowers, she is a normal girl at heart...a strong, wonderful person, but ordinary and human, nonetheless) to this notion that someone like Buffy couldn't possibly find someone like Riley admirable. The sooner this plot ends, the better.
- The writers badly BADLY telegraphed the end of the Buffy/Riley relationship and the development of Spike's lustful (and inherently evil) attraction for Buffy. Nothing that happens involving Buffy and Spike, or Buffy and Riley will surprise the audience and make them think at all in right up through the attempted rape we should all have seen coming near the end of season 6...at which point they finally throw us a real curveball...we'll talk more about that when we get to it. The bottom line is...Riley's character isn't the only thing that's boring..his character ARC is boring too. It's just bad writing to give away the punchline before you start telling the joke.
Wake Me Up when September Ends should be the theme song for Buffy. Seasons tend to start very slowly no matter what year you're in and they pack their filler episodes into the first 8 weeks. Call me when we get to the good stuff, please...because the writers seem to check out til then.
Neither SMG nor Blucas is at all convincing in their scenework this week and it just kills the episode's tiny chances to enthrall me.
I guess the message seems to be, despite Buffy protests to the contrary, that Buffy really IS out of our league. Somehow...that doesn't make me want to root for her.