Saturday, September 18, 2010

Buffy Rewind Review - "Nightmares"

Can Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) escape the nightmare world created by the boy in the coma?
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
Season 1 - Episode 10

Nearing the end of season one, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' has finally entered a comfortable rhythm and the writers now seem to understand what kind of show they are making. One the surface, there's a very playful, and frequently silly, nature that is more than willing to have fun with and make fun of the horror genre. Also, there has been an increase in character development, especially for the show's star. Throw in some mythology momentum during the standalone episodes, and this show is starting to develop into something resembling the later Joss Whedon shows that I enjoyed.

I'm assuming that when Billy woke up, all the reality warping reset and everyone but Buffy and her gang remember what happened. If not, then the entirety of the Sunnydale High School faculty and student body, if not the town itself, will have been severely traumatized by having to face their worst nightmares. It would hard to hide the fact that Sunnydale is on top of the Hellmouth at this point.

The nightmares did provide some fun moments. Cordelia losing her fashionable wardrobe and hair and being conscripted into the Chess Club was pretty funny. Willow's stage fright and Gile's inability to read was amusing, but it was Xander finally, and hilariously, confronting his fear of the clown at his sixth birthday that was really great.

Buffy's confrontation with the nightmare version of her father was effectively disturbing. While it was nice to finally meet Mr. Summers, the nightmare version that we are first introduced to is her worst fears about Buffy's parents' divorce made real. Too bad that we don't get to meet the real version for more than ten seconds at the end of the episode, so  we could see what he's really like.

The reasoning behind the boy's coma was a little over the top. A little league coach so upset over a loss that he hits one of the players hard enough to knock him out? Really? I'm not saying that this is impossible in the real world, but it's a hard sell for the catalyst of this episode, in my opinion.

"Nightmares" is a decent standalone episode with some funny moments and some new background information about Buffy. The Master and the Anointed make a few cameos throughout, which benefit's the series' overall mythology. A big improvement over some of those really awful hours at the start of the season.

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