Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mythology broken: Buffy's fatal flaw

TJ already chimed in for us about how horrible Buffy vs. Dracula is in Season 5 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer', I have a much deeper problem with this episode, as a Buffy fan.
Yes, this episode blows. It is truly one of the worst episodes in the Buffy canon (in part because it introduces Dawn in what I wish I could say is the greatest TV plot misstep of all time, but sadly seems to have been planned by creator Joss Whedon the entire series). Dawn and bad makeup and terrible acting isn't what makes this episode suck so hard.
What makes it suck is that it completely disregards Buffy horror mythology up to this point in the series. Buffy legends are ignored for this singular episode.
And that's just ridiculous.

If you've never watched or been a fan, let me explain: In Buffyverse, world history is this: Millenia ago, the world was ruled by demons. Man came along and screwed everything up, created the Slayer, and demons were relegated back into other dimensions and universes. They still slip through from time to time, the Slayer protects them and generally keeps all Hell from breaking loose again in what we now call Earth. We learn all this in the second episode of the season -- as Giles explains that as the last full-blooded demon was forced out of the world, it fed on a human, mingling their blood and creating a vampire.

Now that you're up to speed, let's point out the fatal flaw: By Buffy mythology, vampires have always existed as long as humans have been on the world. So then, who the crap is Dracula? The first vampire? Uh, no. Was he the first person that a demon decided to infect -- chosen because of the horrific acts carried out by Vlad the Impaler - or, further back, Judas Iscariot? Well, no, that doesn't really fit with Whedon's stated mythology either. He didn't even try that angle.

He uses 100% Stoker mythology (or rather, he uses Francis Ford Coppola mythology -- the 1992 Dracula is obviously the inspiration for this episode. The makeup and acting wouldn't have been near as bad had they gotten Gary Oldman to reprise his role).

The other thing that bugs me is that every other demon character in the show is suddenly "Oh yeah, of course there's Dracula. I met him (insert story here)." And of course this completely goes against all those other "oh so ancient" vampires who've been around for thousands of years and Buffy fights, destroys, etc. Five seasons and the original vampire never came up?

So thank you, Joss Whedon, for starting off the worst season of Buffy in the worst possible way. The only redemptive moment in this entire episode is Xander's speech about being sick of being the guy who gets syphilis and turned into a bug eater.

If you're Buffy fan, skip this episode all together. If you can manage, just skip Season 5 all together and go from 4 to 6. Just ignore that Buffy suddenly got a little sister.

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