The final four episodes (9 through 12) of the first season continue the pattern of interspersing tangential episodes with the 'real story.' It doesn't matter; minor flaws did not stop this too-good-for-TV show's trajectory towards a stellar conclusion. Rating: 9 out of 10.
“The Puppet Show”
Aired May 5, 1997
Written by Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
Directed by Ellen S. Pressman
Aired May 12, 1997
Written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Aired May 19, 1997
Written by Joss Whedon, Ashley Gable, and Thomas A. Swyden
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Aired June 2, 1997
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon
201-Words-or-Less Film Review
“Puppet” marks a return to a more gimmick-driven episode revolving around a possessed ventriloquist’s dummy. “Invisible” features is a great sci-fi story with a knockout ending, but I found myself wanting Whedon to bring the real story back on. “Invisible” does develop the growing attraction of Xander for Buffy and “Invisible” shows some new sides of Cordelia.
“Nightmares” is a movie-quality episode in visuals, directing, acting, and script; it is scary in a supernatural thriller (vs. a slasher flick) way—reminiscent of Nightmare on Elm Street without the corniness. The episode also forges new emotional territory for the titular character, who in the first season was neglected at times in favor of the great supporting cast. Here we learn of her father and Buffy’s feelings about her parents’ divorce.
“Prophecy” is the grand season finale that cements the series as a success. Written and directed by Whedon, it depicts Buffy’s struggle with the sacrificial nature of the role of slayer, and her ultimate decision to do her duty even at the cost of her own life. It ends on a high note, but I still want clarification that will have to wait for the next season to be released on DVD.
Word count: 201
Although this series is rated as "TV PG-13," I recommend treating it more like an "R" when it comes to children; the vampires are just plain evil-looking.