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Joe Hellandback

S05.E03: The Replacement

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The Good; Great performance from NB in both roles, you wish you'd had more Xander eps in later seasons but instead he get's squeezed out by the girls. Worth it for the snoopy-dance alone.

The Bad; Anya says she wants a car, puppy, child and boat. But didn't she refer to her car in Graduation Day pt2?

Best line; "Kill us both Spock"

Women good/men bad; None but Giles fends off the demon using a fertility statue, the power of the female.

Kinky dinky; Buffy and Riley can't keep their hands off each other, nipping to the bedroom for a quick smooch even when house-hunting. The estate agent quite shamelessly throws herself at cool Xander. Interesting that she assumes Riley is 'Mr Harris' at first, he is the guy you'd want as a tenant. Anya wants to take both Xander's back to her place and have a threesome with them, maybe it's not just men who fantasise about sex with twins/triplets etc? As indeed Dopplegangland suggests, thinking about it. Dawn is quite the voyeur and seems to enjoy spying on Buffy and Riley smooching. The Xanders checked out some stuff in the car but one Xander quickly qualifies this as fingerprints. Anya refers to herself as Xander's slave.

Captain Subtext; Spike's mannequin speaks of his Buffy obsession. Xander has been a soldier, clad in leather (The Wish) and now a construction worker. Half way to being his own Village People tribute band. When Xander refers to his love for Anya Willow replies 'Really?'. Riley and Buffy's car conversation is loaded with not-so hidden meaning. Riley tells Buffy he loves her unconditionally and she doesn't say the same back. The final revelation between Riley and Xander in the basement probably stems from this.

Guantanamo Bay; Riley lapses back into scary government mode by saying he wants to lock both Xander's up and perform experiments on them (although as a psychology student I know what he means)

Scoobies knocked out: Xanderx2. Giles comments on his constantly being knocked out Buffy: 15 Giles: 10 Cordy: 6 Xander: 10 Will: 5 Jenny: 2 Angel: 6 Oz: 3 Faith: 1 Joyce: 2 Wes: 1 Anya;1

Kills: Buffy: one demon so 85 vamps, 29 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

Alternate scoobies: cool Xander. Willow also refers to her own evil double, VampWillow and claims she handled it fine (by shooting her with a tranquiliser gun and sending her back to another dimension to get staked?) Buffy: 6 Giles: 3 Cordy: 1 Will: 2 Jenny: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 2 Joyce: 2 Xander: 4

Scoobies shot: no but Anya owns a gun, a snub nosed revolver. Giles: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 4

Questions and observations; I guess if one of your lead actors has an identical twin it seems a tremendous shame not to include them in an episode at some stage? (Terminator star Linda Hamilton is the only other actor who I can think off in this regard however, can anyone name any more?). Terrific performance from NB on all counts. Now I heard that the original idea for this ep was a version where Buffy and Xander get zapped and he get's her powers (very similar to an old ep of Superman; Lois and Clark). She has to adjust to being normal once more and he revels in being a superhero and has sex with the entire female cast including Joyce (but except Dawn obviously!), even lesbian Tara unable to resist the ultimate alpha-male. But the power starts to drive him gradually insane which is why the Slayer always has to be a female. Now you can see where they went with this, it has elements of The Replacement in it plus Helpless, Superstar and Him. Some nice moments between Buffy and Riley too and the final scene between Riley and Xander is probably the most touching they'll ever have, Xander seems to be the confidant for all the Scoobies. Riley comments on Buffy's ice-skating film obsession, wonder what she made of MT in Ice Princess? Joyce refers to her headaches but blames them on living with 2 teenage girls rather than anything more. We get to see the Snoopydance, yay! Xander thinks his double is a robot (Ted,

Spoiler

I was made to Love you, Intervention).

Anyone intrigued to see what pure Buffy and pure Slayer might be like? (Superbimbo and a blonde version of the first Slayer?) Why do both Xanders change into the same clothes prior to the spell? Anya anticipates many years before her death,

Spoiler

not that many.


Marks out of 10; 8/10

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Although Xander happens to be one of my favorite characters in the Buffyverse, most of the so-called "Xander-centric" eps usually suck in one way or another. Therefore "8/10' is too high IMO. Looking back on previous season one might think that SuaveXander usually stayed passive, allowing his Scruffy alter ego to be in charge of Xander's personality for the most part of the first post-graduation year. Then again we must keep in mind that this is in fact the Dawnverse (after the Monks of Mindfuck messed up with protagonists' memories thus shoving Buffy's lil' sis out of the blue down our throats) and the characters don't think/act as they used to. In many aspects the "new", mindfucked Scoobies are not the ones we remember from seasons 1 - 4.  

A rather illustrative dialogue between desperate ScruffyXander and Willow, who tries to be sympathetic (not succeeds though).

Quote

ScruffyXANDER: A demon. A demon has taken my life from me, and he's living it better than I do.

WILLOW: Well, we're working on it. There has to be a way to get to Buffy to ... unhypnotize her. I'll find a spell to snap her out of it.
ScruffyXANDER: Right. Whatever.
WILLOW: Xander, you sound a little ... you have to help me figure this out, you know.
ScruffyXANDER: But I never help. I get in trouble and Buffy saves me.
WILLOW: That's not true! Sometimes we all helped save you. And sometimes you're not in trouble.

I rest my case here. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a bad name. Saving Private Harris appears to be more accurate ('cause that, ya know, constituted almost 80% of the series: saving Xander from whatever trouble the poor schmuck got himself in). And while it's ok for "hasty" Xander to mumble such nonsense, I find it strange that Willow's memories are full of blackouts too (she herself had to be saved more often, as far as I remember). Though the Scoobs succeded in fixing the problem and making mystically hit Xander one again (therefore balancing his personality) eventually, 

Spoiler

the "Buffy doesn't need my help and she has save my sorry ass all the time" shit will be voiced once again some time later, in Checkpoint.

OTOH the Snoopy Dance was worrth seeing.

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2 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

The Good; Great performance from NB in both roles

And fine work by Kelly Donovan (the twins' last name is actually "Schultz"; both delete it for showbiz purposes, like Jon Stewart Leibowitz does) in the two-Xander scenes.  It can't be too easy to  basically have to impersonate your brother.

2 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

Best line; "Kill us both Spock"

But that's from the wrong Star Trek episode; "Whom Gods Destroy" is Kirk v. an impostor. The Kirk-split-in-two-and-needs-to-reintegrate episode is Season 1's "The Enemy Within".

Which is fine; Xander's a general pop-culture sponge, not a sci-fi geek.  Remember, this is a guy who made Russ Meyer, Ingmar Bergman, and Shakespeare references in three consecutive S2 eps.  Which is why I hate the "Babylon 5 collector plates" joke.  

Spoiler

Save that Andrew shit for Andrew, Jane.

 

2 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

Riley tells Buffy he loves her unconditionally and she doesn't say the same back.

And earlier, she casually "explains" the name Toth by claiming Giles said "toff, it means moron", assuming Giles was insulting Riley (who had just spoken) without any sign of Offended Girlfriend.  It's bad enough when B/W need to be prompted to reassure Xander (as in What's My Line, Part 1), but Buffy wasn't shtupping Xander, then.

2 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

The final revelation between Riley and Xander in the basement probably stems from this.

Yeah, sort of a sorrowful (advance) farewell to Riley there.  I always think the title is more about him (and Marc Blucas) than it is the two-Xander issue.

2 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

I guess if one of your lead actors has an identical twin it seems a tremendous shame not to include them in an episode at some stage? (Terminator star Linda Hamilton is the only other actor who I can think off in this regard however, can anyone name any more?)

Jill Hennessy (everything from Law & Order to Yellowstone) also has a non-acting twin, and I'm sure others do as well.

My favorite part of the episode will always be this:

Quote

Riley moves Buffy around in front of him, starts to rub her shoulders.

BUFFY: Mmm. So good. More…

Xander sees the happiness that is Buffy and Riley. He takes the cue, starts rubbing  Anya's shoulders

ANYA What are you doing? I have a dislocated shoulder!

Xander takes his hands away from Anya. 

ANYA (cont'd): I'm trying to concentrate on the kicking movie.

Riley has been watching the whole rejection. He stops rubbing Buffy's shoulders not wanting to flaunt their togetherness.

BUFFY (not noticing): Hey! Rubbing went away.

RILEY: Um…sorry…got caught up in the action.

And then the great unscripted capper, where Riley puts his hands back on Buffy's shoulders but does not rub.  Guy Code, right there.  Well done, spud.

Although this is pretty excellent, too:

Quote

RILEY: He came to us too. 
WILLOW: No. We each had a Xander. I mean ... you didn't have a Xander, you had a, a demon in a Xander suit. 
BUFFY: What makes you so sure that yours is the right one? 
WILLOW: He knew stuff! He, he did the Snoopy dance. (Another shot of Giles reading) Buffy, it was Xander, and he needs us. 

The idea that a part of the B/W bond is Buffy's understanding and trust in the depth of the W/X bond?  Oh, yes, please!

Not a great ep, but my favorite of the season.  

Spoiler

Later Joss-a-thons getting more scorn than praise from me, I'll warn you.

28 minutes ago, lembergwatcher said:

ScruffyXANDER: But I never help. I get in trouble and Buffy saves me.
WILLOW: That's not true! Sometimes we all helped save you. And sometimes you're not in trouble.

Never really an issue for me.  Willow feels rejected by Xander (I mean, Tara's not around, after all) and takes her share of the credit for helping him before reassuring him more generally, what, two seconds later?  Sixteen years of friendship allows her a teeny verbal hiccup, I'd argue.

Edited by Halting Hex

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21 hours ago, lembergwatcher said:

Although Xander happens to be one of my favorite characters in the Buffyverse, most of the so-called "Xander-centric" eps usually suck in one way or another. Therefore "8/10' is too high IMO. Looking back on previous season one might think that SuaveXander usually stayed passive, allowing his Scruffy alter ego to be in charge of Xander's personality for the most part of the first post-graduation year. Then again we must keep in mind that this is in fact the Dawnverse (after the Monks of Mindfuck messed up with protagonists' memories thus shoving Buffy's lil' sis out of the blue down our throats) and the characters don't think/act as they used to. In many aspects the "new", mindfucked Scoobies are not the ones we remember from seasons 1 - 4.  

A rather illustrative dialogue between desperate ScruffyXander and Willow, who tries to be sympathetic (not succeeds though).

I rest my case here. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a bad name. Saving Private Harris appears to be more accurate ('cause that, ya know, constituted almost 80% of the series: saving Xander from whatever trouble the poor schmuck got himself in). And while it's ok for "hasty" Xander to mumble such nonsense, I find it strange that Willow's memories are full of blackouts too (she herself had to be saved more often, as far as I remember). Though the Scoobs succeded in fixing the problem and making mystically hit Xander one again (therefore balancing his personality) eventually, 

  Reveal hidden contents

the "Buffy doesn't need my help and she has save my sorry ass all the time" shit will be voiced once again some time later, in Checkpoint.

OTOH the Snoopy Dance was worrth seeing.

I don't get that, I think the Scoobs are still who they are, this was always Xander's potential coming through, he grows through experience. You should be happy he's getting out of the basement. 

21 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

And fine work by Kelly Donovan (the twins' last name is actually "Schultz"; both delete it for showbiz purposes, like Jon Stewart Leibowitz does) in the two-Xander scenes.  It can't be too easy to  basically have to impersonate your brother.

But that's from the wrong Star Trek episode; "Whom Gods Destroy" is Kirk v. an impostor. The Kirk-split-in-two-and-needs-to-reintegrate episode is Season 1's "The Enemy Within".

Which is fine; Xander's a general pop-culture sponge, not a sci-fi geek.  Remember, this is a guy who made Russ Meyer, Ingmar Bergman, and Shakespeare references in three consecutive S2 eps.  Which is why I hate the "Babylon 5 collector plates" joke.  

  Hide contents

Save that Andrew shit for Andrew, Jane.

 

And earlier, she casually "explains" the name Toth by claiming Giles said "toff, it means moron", assuming Giles was insulting Riley (who had just spoken) without any sign of Offended Girlfriend.  It's bad enough when B/W need to be prompted to reassure Xander (as in What's My Line, Part 1), but Buffy wasn't shtupping Xander, then.

Yeah, sort of a sorrowful (advance) farewell to Riley there.  I always think the title is more about him (and Marc Blucas) than it is the two-Xander issue.

Jill Hennessy (everything from Law & Order to Yellowstone) also has a non-acting twin, and I'm sure others do as well.

My favorite part of the episode will always be this:

And then the great unscripted capper, where Riley puts his hands back on Buffy's shoulders but does not rub.  Guy Code, right there.  Well done, spud.

Although this is pretty excellent, too:

The idea that a part of the B/W bond is Buffy's understanding and trust in the depth of the W/X bond?  Oh, yes, please!

Not a great ep, but my favorite of the season.  

  Reveal hidden contents

Later Joss-a-thons getting more scorn than praise from me, I'll warn you.

Never really an issue for me.  Willow feels rejected by Xander (I mean, Tara's not around, after all) and takes her share of the credit for helping him before reassuring him more generally, what, two seconds later?  Sixteen years of friendship allows her a teeny verbal hiccup, I'd argue.

Absolutely, I like the fact that Willow is so tight she can just instinctively know that its' Xander just like Buffy and Giles in A New Man 

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Man, why couldn't Xander open his eyes and dump the hellbitch for good? Even this building manager chick looks more sane and decent.

But, of course, not. I love Anya, blah-blah-blah. She's the best one I ever had, wah. I can't loose my precious ex-demon, she's the love of my life, she makes me a better man, yada-yada-yada. Ugh. What a pile of horseshit...

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"Open-door" Realtor there is a bit old for 19-year-old Xander, don't we think?  Ex-Radio City Rockette Cate Cohen (here credited as "Cathy Cohen") has gone to lengths to hide her own age, but she seems a lot more suited for 29-year-old Nicholas Brendon than for somebody who graduated high school a whopping 15 months ago, I'm just saying.   Down, cougar!

Spoiler

Is it Cate's dancing background that led Xander to summon Sweet?  None of that "happy ending" bullshit, he was just dreaming of dancers' doorbells left unrung last year?  We'll almost certainly never know…

 

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21 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

"Open-door" Realtor there is a bit old for 19-year-old Xander, don't we think?

Isn't Anya (born around 860) too old for Xander either? That Realtor is 30+something y. o. - not a big deal for 19-year-old Xander, I guess. 

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I would hope the Realtor has higher standards than Anya.  I mean, talk about low bars to clear.

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On 4/5/2020 at 12:46 AM, Halting Hex said:

I would hope the Realtor has higher standards than Anya.  I mean, talk about low bars to clear.

Unfair! But still interesting that she initially thinks Riley is xander

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On 9/12/2018 at 6:12 PM, Joe Hellandback said:

I guess if one of your lead actors has an identical twin it seems a tremendous shame not to include them in an episode at some stage? (Terminator star Linda Hamilton is the only other actor who I can think off in this regard however, can anyone name any more?).

Enver Gjokaj, Victor on Dollhouse, has an identical twin who appears in Dollhouse in a dream Victor has about his time as a soldier. And Laverne Cox has a genetically identical twin brother who played pre-transitioned Sophia in an Orange is the New Black flashback.

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9 hours ago, AllyB said:

Enver Gjokaj, Victor on Dollhouse, has an identical twin who appears in Dollhouse in a dream Victor has about his time as a soldier. And Laverne Cox has a genetically identical twin brother who played pre-transitioned Sophia in an Orange is the New Black flashback.

I actually thought you were messing with us but looking up IMDB you're right, 

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