1.6 Sympathy for the Devil
This episode contains some of the roughest patches of storytelling in the show so far. There are a lot of lazy clichés; A man’s dying words being cryptic and misleading and a villain monologuing his origins being the two greatest offenders. And yet the episode still manages to be better than it should be.
First off, there are some great scenes. The opening and closing sequences are fantastic mood pieces and contain some great visuals. Most of the moments with Valentine are great moments of levity in yet another dark episode. And that moment where Spike devises the plan is a great moment between the three main characters. For every moment that I found poor or cliché, there were three superb moments, so overall still solid despite my reservations.
1.7 Heavy Metal Queen
I guess it makes sense for there to be a space trucker episode. I like the idea of this episode a lot more than the execution. The pieces are all there, it just never quite fully emerges for me. I like the idea of Spike and Valentine competing for a bounty, but then they end up spending most of the rest of the episode working together. I like the idea of space truckers, but it seems more like a footnote than anything else. V.T. is a cool idea for a character, but, in action, she comes across as rather bland. Also, the antagonist of the episode feels like yet another footnote. It’s an okay episode, probably the weakest one so far, a lot of ideas that the episode flings out without doing justice to any of them.
1.8 Waltz for Venus
So they finally got a bounty. I love Spike’s little fight at the beginning. It’s one of the best demonstrations of how casual and aloof his fighting style is. I also like how the episode delves into the fighting style and explains it a bit. In contrast to the last couple of episodes, it’s neat to have an antagonist with this degree of complexity, one you can sympathize with. You might even argue he’s not the antagonist.
The scene in the abandoned ship and the hospital are two more astounding sequences from this show. The show gets a lot out of so little. There’s a point where you think the show is going to go the cliché route, but somehow it stays true to the Spike character while continuing to give us some interesting insights into him.
1.9 Jamming with Edward
I don’t hate Ed. I guess that’s the best compliment I can give her. This episode gets into heady sci-fi territory but so far it’s not the show’s strength. I like that it mixes up the bounty formula, but the idea feels a bit underdeveloped. The Spike/Fay/Jet dynamic is a lot of fun in this episode; I love how Spike just chills most of the episode. It’s an okay episode. There are better ones, there are worse ones. We’ll see how this Ed character works.
1.10 Ganymede Elegy
In contrast to Spike’s background episode, Jet’s episode is given a bit more definition. The story is beautiful, but it’s the images that just make it a breathtaking episode. The bird in the bar and the last few minutes are full of some breathtaking images that sell a lot of the emotional gravitas of the episode. Yet the one that sticks with me the most is the stopped clock. It’s such a perfect visual expression of Jet being stuck in the past and not letting go of those memories that cling in his mind. Women, man, women.
© 2013 James Blake Ewing