I re-re-watched this one following some strict stipulations set by Mr. Lousy. I’d actually seen it last winter, but true to form, my memory failed me and I actually needed to go back to zero, or one, as the case may be.
(Zero would be the unaired pilot, which I have seen and may watch again – if I am so moved or required to do.)
This time I watched (and listened) more for mechanics – how Whedon introduces his characters and marks their initial interactions, how the banter-dialogue must have sounded in comparison with other shows in 1997, what the initial wardrobe choices communicated, and so on.
But I’m not going into all of that. Instead, I’ll focus on Luke.
Luke, played by Brian Thompson, appeals in a Cro-Magnon kind of way, hulking and imposing, more Frankensteinian than the sleeker, stealthier, more teenage-girl-pleasing Angel. And he’s more of a tease; we never even see Luke without his game face, which accentuates his gruesome sexiness – he’s all monster, all the time, a fact appreciated by the ultimate connoisseur of vampires, The Master. (Let’s face it – he loves Luke and Darla. He knows how to pick winners.)
Note to self: I’d like a gif of Luke kneeling and kissing The Master’s hand as the latter ascends from the pool of blood in the underground lair. That’s right, a gift gif. For Valentine’s Day. From myself.
For now I shall proceed with some personally collected screenshots.
- Darla! She does have a name in the first episode. She introduces herself as such to Jesse (Eric Balfour, in all his sweet, lanky, Jewish sexiness) while lolling in that magnificent chair bordering the dance floor at The Bronze.
- Though I will muse upon the lack of kids of color at Sunnydale High, one does appear in a character I’ve found credited as Blue. (Her name still isn’t as good as her redhead companion, Aphrodisia.)
- Also notable in the same scene: the fucking locker room. It just cannot be a greater hotspot of terror. The dead guy who tumbles out of Blue’s locker onto Aphrodisia wasn’t even killed in the locker room. Darla must have dragged and deposited him there after draining him.
- James Spader. Cordelia quizzes/judges Buffy by soliciting her opinion on the actor’s hotness. (The acceptable answer is yes.) In 1997, Spader was just coming off the David Cronenberg masterfuckingpiece Crash about car accident fetishists. As this is one of my favorite films, I found the twisted sexual connection to Buffy and Cordy instantaneously. Damn straight he was hot in Crash.
- Cordelia’s dialogue runs the gamut from abrasive and snotty (below, funny) to outright cruel (especially in regard to Willow). She’s not quite a cartoon yet, but the character is headed there.
As this is technically a two-parter, I can conclude with the closing shot and the To Be Continued titles.
With guess who lunging down!