This was a really sad episode of Buffy. You felt for Cassie, a realistic character with a properly fleshed-out background and convincing personality. Like Dawn, you got to know her because you were forced to, but came to like her because she won you over. It all made her death - a heart-stopping triple jeapardy of murderous little snits, vicious booby-traps and er... stopping hearts - incredibly poignant.
Yes, it was certainly a triumphant piece of tragedy. However, nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, excuses Cassie's bloody awful poetry. For writing lines like:
I hear the chatter / of the bugs.
It's they alone / will feast,
death is too good a penalty. And I haven't even got onto:
I sit alone at my window sill / Trees crackle
sunshine blares and / children laugh like death yet.
Here's a piece of advice. If you do feel the need to write doom laden angsty poetry, make sure you burn it before you reach twenty. If you don't, you will regret it.
Another episode from the new format of Buffy - The Animated Counsellor. Bravo for the format change, and double bravo for Cassie dying at the end.
The episode is scripted with confidence, scattering strong character moments and dire prophecies with deft assurance. Ann and Dan have already taken the episode to task for accepting Cassie's poetry at face value, but let's just pause and praise Azura Skye for her really winning performance.
At the centre of Help is an interesting premise, that of premonition. Unfortunately it's one that the production doesn’t wholly capitalise on. Its core is a strong and memorable performance from Azura Skye as precognitive Cassie, but the script doesn’t always serve her well.
Good points include scenes featuring Cassie’s premonitions coming true. These could have been heavy-handed, but moments such as the coins falling prompt gasps of realisation rather than groans. Several lines muttered by Cassie also get the taste buds going for potential things to come ("Someday she’ll tell you", etc).
But at times Help is just a bit too straight-laced. Surely the director saw the comic potential of a script featuring simply dire teenage poetry? It would have been great to see the finished episode send up such outpourings of teenage angst, but I guess that would have cut through the tension somewhat!
Talking of teenage angst, Help also continues the series' rehabilitation of Dawn: here she adds spying to her repertoire. Its serious storyline is also contrasted with great moments of humour as Buffy gets to grip with her new job as a student counsellor.