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18 June 2014
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Episode Guide
The Prom


Taking pause to regroup before the season finale, The Prom has some housekeeping to take care of, not least of which is the considerable task of preparing for Angel’s departure, the most difficult event that the series’ producers have had to tackle so far. This event prompts a couple of memorable scenes: Buffy and Angel’s well written and beautifully performed “I can’t believe you’re breaking up with me” moment; and Angel’s wedding dream - which must have given the people who put together trailers palpitations!

Joyce’s visit to Angel at the Mansion is an odd and bizarre scene that makes little sense. Nevertheless, it’s quite funny - you can easily guess what went through Joyce’s mind when she saw Angel’s manacles!

The main monster-of-the-week plot seems woefully half-hearted, (a feeling reinforced by Buffy’s casual dismissal of Tucker’s explanation for his actions - "whatever"), something that no amount of hype from Chris Beck’s powerhouse score can disguise.

It’s likely that the episode would have benefited from more focus on this, and rather less on the scene where Buffy is given the award for keeping the school’s mortality rate so low, which rapidly alternates between being rather touching, to pathetically sentimental.

The rest of the prom scenes are generally successfully handled, and the event seems remarkably well populated (there are signs of thrift elsewhere in the episode, like the Spartan slaughterhouse set). Marti Noxon’ s script excels in small intimate exchanges: Giles and Wesley share a couple of witty exchanges, and Anya and Xander’s relationship shows considerable promise. The episode culminates in Angel’s arrival, for one final show-stealing moment…

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