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Buffy The Vampire SlayerBuffy 7x17 Lies My Parents Told Me - Review
Thursday 27 March 2003, by Webmaster
Uh-oh. The Scoobies find out parents aren’t perfect. Buffy, Spike, and others learns some life lessons, says Rachel Lovinger, despite a few flaws in the storytelling
’’Buffy’’’s creator, Joss Whedon, has been quoted as saying that the theme of the sixth season was ’’growing up’’ — which still seems to apply to this seventh-season episode, when members of the Sunnydale crew learn that evenadults have their childish setbacks to overcome. Could there be a more profound Rite of Passage than the moment when grown people realize that their parents aren’t always the shining beacons of Truth, Strength, and Wisdom that they seemed to be?
Hitting the right theme, however, doesn’t always make for a perfect episode. There’s a lot of witty dialogue to keep things moving, some intense drama, and some amusing flashbacks to ’’William the Bloody Awful Poet.’’ But there are a lot of contradictions too. Sure, William was a mama’s boy when he was alive, but that doesn’t explain why he’d continue to feel human attachment to her even after becoming a creature of the night. How can a monster also be such a ’’limp, sentimental fool’’? And of course Giles is going to be concerned about the risk of having unstable Spike on his team. But is that enough to make Giles conspire to distract Buffy while Principal Wood enacts his selfish and self-righteous revenge fantasy?
And what about Buffy? Spike may be her ’’strongest warrior,’’ and she may even still be in love with him, but if she’s now willing to sacrifice any one of her friends in the line of battle, she must accept the fact that Spike could be one of the casualties. It’s clear, though, that she’d prefer to alienate Giles and let Wood die. Difficult decisions are called for, but this is not the choice that Giles expects her to make.
If you overlook the slightly artificial side of these conflicts, however, they ultimately support the main point of an episode that’s fittingly titled ’’Lies My Parents Told Me.’’ For instance, Spike realizes that it was a demon wearing his mother’s form who uttered the hateful words that have been haunting him. So, after all, it never was a reflection of how his real mother felt. He, in turn, forces Wood to recognize that his mother, Nikki the Vampire Slayer, was a loner who couldn’t love him enough to choose him over her mission. In fact, Wood had been trying all his life to avenge the loss of a mother who was never really there for him. Harsh. And Buffy, in sharp contrast to her reaction when Giles first took off for England, finally acknowledges that she can no longer live in the shadow of her teacher/father figure. To allow herself to be a more effective team leader she contradicts him, overrules him, and literally shuts him out.
Does the recognition of the older generation’s shortcomings mean that the upstarts have it all under control? Not necessarily. But it’s now or never. Principal Wood may still turn out to be useful if he can grow up and get over the rejection he hears when a Slayer tells him — for the second time in his life — ’’The mission is what matters.’’ Meanwhile, Buffy and Spike have faced their childish insecurities and emerged on the side of adulthood.
What do you think of the episode’s lessons about growing up?
Buffy, "Lies My Parents Told Me" Peaches? Is that you?
By Sarah Kuhn March 26, 2003
I haven’t called Spike "Peaches" since season 5. Truth be told, I haven’t really enjoyed the character since s5, with a few notable exceptions ("Tabula Rasa," for example) sprinkled in here and there. And while I’m not quite ready to don my "Love’s Bitch" Fan Club beanie again, at least this episode plumbs the depths of this character in a new and intriguing way, providing for a nifty sequel of sorts to season 5’s "Fool For Love" and proving that Spike can still be an asset to the show.
In this ep, Giles offers up a device that he thinks may deactivate the trigger in Spike’s consciousness (the one Fake Odo has been making gleeful use of). Said device is a little worm thing that Wrath of Khans its way into Spike’s head and stirs up painful memories. We see him reciting shitty poetry as William, then newly-sired and courting Dru. We also learn that Spike vamped his mom - and once she became an evil creature of the night, he killed her. Meanwhile, Wood is still determined to take Spike down, and enlists Giles to the cause. While Giles distracts Buff, Wood lures Spike to his weird room full of crucifixes and prepares to kick his ass.
The flashbacks, while not as amusing as Angel singing "Mandy" in last week’s "Orpheus," illuminate a new side of Spike, especially Spike-as-William, who is the biggest mama’s boy this side of the many Walton offspring. Naturally, these scenes are nicely juxtaposed with the vision we get of young Wood and his own mama (I could have done with a few more of those, actually). And I always love seeing Dru, whose icy glare and beautifully curved lips enliven the Buffy universe in a single gaze. The final encounter between Spike and his vamped Mumsy is disturbing, to say the least, but underscores an important point that’s been mentioned before: the vamped individual, sans soul, is merely a demonic shell. Spike has been a difficult character to reconcile, as souled Spike has a demeanor quite similar to non-souled Spike (compared to Angel/Angelus, anyway). I guess this is a way for Spike to start reconciling the heinous acts he committed as non-souled Spike with who he is now. Anyone else think that would make a good Oprah?
I couldn’t help but feel bad for ol’ Wood, though. Souled Spike! Is it really necessary to imply that Wood’s mommy didn’t love him? Yeah, so he tried to kill you, but then you kicked his ass and got some free therapy on the side. Throw him a bone. I’m also a little concerned about the increasing brittleness of the Buffster, but I imagine they’re going somewhere cool with it. My heart broke just a little when she shut the door in Giles’ face, though, especially as it made me recall touching Slayer/Watcher bonding moments from "Helpless," "The Prom," and so many others. Sigh.
Anyway, I’m pleased that Spike seems to be on his way to somewhere other than CrazySpike Land, and that he’s managed to pique my interest yet again. Not enough to call him "Peaches," but these things take time.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
"Lies My Parents Told Me" Episode Review.
Written by The Great & Mighty Trent.
On my personal radar, this one ranks as one of the best episodes this season; and that in itself is saying quite a lot. So much stuff happened in "Lies My Parents Told Me" that is boggles the mind that they could actually fit this much stuff into an hour long segment. Thank God Joss & Co. are darn talented. Anyways, here we go…
On the story development line-up, I’m gonna start with one of the biggest: Spike is finally de-triggered. After being The First’s little ho for nearly this whole season, good ole’ William has finally fully broke the hold evil had over him. Giles’ little gooey-rock thing crawled up in his noggin, and shook things up enough to finally let him figure out why that song meant so darn much to him subconsciously. Apart from that, we have Giles betraying Buffy by helping Wood try to kill Spike. Now, I can see why Giles would do this; Spike really could become a liability. But, in my opinion, it seemed like Giles was being a bit rash in his decision to kill a powerful ally, not to mention a souled being.
Hmmm…. After that we have Wood’s back story finally becoming pretty common knowledge among all involved, not to mention the fact that he finally made a decisive attack to kill Spike. Boy howdy, that one sure backfired. After trapping an unsuspecting Spike in a cross-filled room, Wood then triggered Spike with his mums favorite song, and kicked the crap outta Spike because the song kicked off his memory and allowed him to remember what happened to his mother. After Spike regained control, he easily dispatched of Wood, leaving him as nothing more than a bruised, bloody mass.
As far as character development goes, we learned quite a bit about Spike’s history. We learn that he turned his sick mother into a vampire, so he and she could live together, forever. But, he didn’t suspect that the transformation would change her as much as it did. She became an uber-mean, evil person; therefore Spike was forced to stake her because he then realized that by turning her, he killed the woman he wanted so much to save. That was a creepy, wig-inducing scene; but I dug it all the same.
Another character development tidbit came about with Giles and Wood. By betraying Buffy’s trust, it seems she’s blackballed both her old-Watcher, and her new boss. It’ll be great to see how all the angst between Giles/Buffy/Wood plays out over the remaining few episodes ’till the series finale.
Highlights from this one, for me, is the joy of seeing Juliet Landau again! You can’t not love ole’ Drusilla. Also, the comedy was small, but the bit there was turned out pretty darn good. I also really, really enjoyed the look back into William/Spike when he was turned, me being a major Spike fan. By the way, did is seem funny to anyone else that Willow got the call from L.A. a week after she had already been there? Gotta love those scheduling conflicts. All in all though, as I said earlier, this ep was chock full of uber-cool goodness. I give it a… 4.5/5.0 on the Score-O-Rama.
Hope you enjoyed the review! If not, drop me a line and yell at me… Or, if you liked it, drop me a line and tell me I’m the man. Personally, I’m pulling for the last option…