Welcome back y’all!
We’ve made it to season 4 of Buffy. That means we are now past the halfway point! Let’s see how the show has been holding up thus far.
The highschool years are finally behind us. Against all odds Buffy made (and most of her friends) made it to college. But, as you probably expected, that isn’t exactly smooth sailing either. And it appears someone else is out to get some monsters…
Okay, so once more: this review will feature a lot of spoilers. There are so many things I want to discuss and unfortunately that won’t be able without giving away many big plot-twists of this season. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to skip the read-more button!
Let me just tell you that it was an intriguing season. By far not my favorite but the final episodes did make up for that!
Where to begin? Let’s start with Oz, because that broke my heart. You might remember from my previous reviews that Oz is one of my favorite characters in the show and that I love how he was written. Seth Green does a perfect job playing him as well!
This season, his relationship with Willow becomes rather strained and he has important decisions to make. In fact, he ends up departing, trying to deal with some personal problems. It was painful to watch Willow suffer and to see Oz leaving even though they both still had so much love for each other. And later in the season he briefly returns which made my heart ache once more. They still have so many fond feelings for each other but things have – of course – irrevocable changed in his absence. This storyline was written brilliantly, with a lot of nuance and might just be my favorite thing about this season!
Talking about Oz also means talking about Willow. This season marks a lot of growth for her. Even though she still struggles, she also seems much more confident about herself and abilities. She’s come so far! I also appreciate how her relationship with Tara was written. Again, writers really outdid themselves. It was a tricky line to navigate and not every show (especially back in the late 90s/ early 2000s) managed to tackle things quite as tactfully. I can clearly see why the show was – and still is – so popular!
We’ll also need to talk about Buffy. This season she gets herself another boyfriend. To be honest, I wasn’t overly fond of him. In general I am just annoyed that the show desperately needs everybody paired up with someone. The even gave Xander an ex-demon girlfriend, because we can’t have him be alone, right?! Why can’t they just let people be on their own for a bit? I really think it would do Buffy some good. Whenever she gets a new boyfriend, be it this new guys Riley or Angel, she always seems to loose a bit of herself. Angel brought out the worst in her. Riley turns out to be working for a secret government initiative. So, of course she joins them. What could be better than patrolling with your boyfriend? In the beginning of the season I liked her story arc, but now even five episode in she starts running after some dude. Sorry, but I didn’t care too much for Buffy this season.
I am a little sad that oftentimes Xander seems to be the butt end of a joke. His storyline has a lot of potential and at times you can see glimpses of that. But unfortunately he’s used to make fun of somebody instead. Giles also suffered a somewhat unfortuante fate here. He’s not really doing much of anything these days. It’s like nobody cared to give him a proper storyline so he just has to sit at home all day. My favorite British librarian deserves better.
Let’s talk a bit about the overarching story, shall we? I’ve mentioned the secret government initiative above and while the concept was interesting enough, I just couldn’t get into it. I can’t put my finger on why but maybe it just felt like too much of a stretch? I know everything about this show already is a stretch, but adding even more to that? I’m not sure about it.
There is, however, one truely outstanding episode this season, though. It’s called Hush and features basically no dialgoue. Kind of like A Quiet Place! The writing and acting in this one was impressive! It might be one of my all-time favorite episodes!
Furthermore, the show’s big story concluded in the penultimate episode, allowing them to do something really cool in the final one. It got major Twin Peaks vibes and that is something I very much appreciate. I already know that many people won’t like that episode because it was weird and somewhat confusing but in my opinion it added an intriguing level to the show. Even though I didn’t love this season, I am now stoked for the next one!
Not the best season overall, but it had it’s moments! I’m curious to find out what happens next! By the way, one of the episodes in this season featured a baby Pedro Pascal! I was very surprised! On to season 5 it is.
Did you watch the season? Let me know in the comments what you think!